On Thursday, Deadspin published a damning account of what Florida State athletics looks like from an academic perspective.
Adam Weinstein, a Gawker columnist who also teaches intro-level English classes at Florida State, went into detail about the special treatment received by FSU's football team. Football players being treated differently from the rest of the student body shouldn't surprise anyone who attended a school with an athletic program, but the incidents Weinstein recounts are particularly disturbing. Here are the main takeaways from the article:
- Although Jameis Winston's name is mentioned in the headline, he's barely mentioned in the story, which makes sense once you read it. The bizarre treatment he's received and the media blitz that followed allegations that he committed sexual battery are symptoms of a much deeper problem.
- When it comes to punishments for academic infractions, the football program takes discipline into its own hands. Plagiarism seems to be so widespread among FSU's athletes that it barely carried any weight at all with professors, and turning in someone else's work seemed to be about as serious an infraction as showing up to class late (for football players, anyway).
- Football players are capable of intimidating teachers into silence. One professor sent an email to an athletic advisor that mentioned players plagiarizing, coming to class late, and disrupting class. The advisor reprimanded the players, but in doing so showed them the teacher's email - which they came to her office and verbally confronted her about. They effectively intimidated her into passing them, and she didn't bring up the incident to anyone out of fear of continued harassment.
"I was very reticent to fail a football player, because I didn't want to be harassed," she says. "I shouldn't have, but I probably graded them much more easily than the other students."
- Homophobia is apparently par for the course. One player turned in a gleeful account of inciting friends to beat up a gay classmate in high school - to an openly gay professor. The paper, which was peppered with homophobic slurs, was taken as an open threat by the teacher, who quickly excused himself and made sure he never had to see the student again. It's unclear if the player was ever disciplined, and the next semester he went on to help FSU beat Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl.
- According to Weinstein, players are essentially force-fed by coaches in an effort to get them to bulk up.
"They watch me clean the plate." A player told one of Weinstein's fellow teachers. "He looks down at me, this monster man, this beast, and now he's got kid eyes," Derek tells me, "and he says to me: 'Mister Derek, sometimes I'm not hungry anymore.'"
- The main takeaway from the piece, beyond the disturbing anecdotes, is that college and amateur athletics just don't mix. These student-athletes are, in many cases, utterly incapable of being students, and whether that issue is because of a lack of time, effort or intelligence isn't really clear. From the players to the teachers to the coaches, there are no winners here, and the only real benefactors of this system are the NCAA and the school's bank account. College sports is living on borrowed time, and this article is just the latest evidence that the NCAA's days are numbered.Back to the Florida State Seminoles Newsfeed