According to an NPR piece from Friday, March 19, 44 of the 64 teams in this year’s tournament have graduation rates of LESS than 50% for their men’s basketball team.
For the classes enrolling in 1993-1996, 4 schools in the tournament didn’t graduate a single player within 6 years of their matriculation. Not a single player.
This is according to Stefan Fatsis, sports writer for The Wall Street Journal, citing the Knight Commission.
Now, I’m one of the first people to admit that this stuff is fun to watch, but at the same time, I’m disgusted by the way college sports (in particular basketball and football) have slowly morphed into the minor leagues for the professional leagues, instead of being a place where certain individuals can get a meaningful education, and grow as individuals. Athletic scholarships are not an end in and of themselves, last time I checked. They’re a means to the end of attending college, and (ideally) finishing college. Of course, there are some who won’t, even among the non-athlete population. But any of those Division I schools that graduated less than half of some other non-athlete subpopulation would be shut down in a heartbeat. Imagine if a school didn’t graduate a single engineer within 6 years in 4 matriculating classes.
All in all, I love college sports. I love rooting for my favorite teams. But come on. It’s ridiculous that schools are more concerned about advertising revenue than about individual players and making sure that the school does what it has supposedly promised to all its students, namely, providing a quality education. I understand that there are some student-athletes who don’t take that seriously, but that should be the exception, and not the rule. Schools should not be allowing this sort of insult to their mission. After all, that’s essentially what it is. Some students are using the school, not to get an education, but to gain visibility for the NFL/NBA/MLB. Now, it’s not wrong to want more visibility. It is wrong, though, to allow that priority to override all others, such as the educational goals of a university.
Some more articles on the subject:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/24/sports/ncaabasketball/24GRAD.html (a great article)
http://www.thebatt.com/news/2004/03/25/Sports/Another.Lousy.Report.Card.For.Ncaa.Tournament.Field-640875.shtml (note the info on breakdown by race a bit down in the article)
Thinly Disguised Totalitarianism
Great First Things article on Canada’s judiciary circumventing due process.
The pledge goes to the Supreme Court
The ironic thing about Dr. Newdow’s argument, in saying “I want my belief system to be given the same weight,” is that he’s not asking for equal treatment in taking out the “in God.” He’s asking for preferential treatment, such that the pledge becomes non-deistic.
The thing is, you can never be truly neutral about religion unless you mention all of them, and allow for a polytheistic pledge of allegiance, a monotheistic version, an atheistic version, an agnostic version, a pantheistic version, and all other variations. By removing “in God,” you would essentially be saying that the pledge is not allowed to mention God, but that it must NOT mention God. In other words, it is more important/valuable to NOT mention God, and thereby giving implicit support for a secular (maybe a.k.a. atheistic) view of the Pledge.
Now, I also want to just go on the record as saying that I’m personally ambivalent about this, and I wouldn’t really care if “in God” were removed. It’s just that I’d like people to at least admit what they’re asking for, and admit what we’re doing. Generally speaking, I think the US government is pretty secular, and seems to be pushing for a more secular public life. But I don’t think Dr. Newdow should win with his argument, because that’s not what the government would be doing by eliminating “in God.”
Somewhere along the line, a government HAS to take one side or another in terms of perpetuating a certain moral philosophy/theology. You can’t be totally neutral about morals in any way, especially if maintaining social order and creating laws is something you want to take seriously. Even more pragmatic views of morality and ethics are still positions to take, which necessarily preclude other positions. There’s going to be a bias. The question is whether or not the bias is the right one, and based on sound reasoning or not.
Many of you may already know, but for those who don’t, I proposed to Kathleen on Friday night, March 19, here in Dallas at the Crescent Court Hotel, and she said “YES!” Pictures can be seen here, and when I get the normal non-digital pictures developed, I’ll scan them and get them posted as well. It’ll be quite fun to do our official engagement pictures in the blue bonnets of Texas.
Now to other random thoughts…
Yahoo! News – Some in Gay Minister’s Flock Celebrate
The verdict from the United Methodist Church’s website
The United Methodist Church’s official policy on homosexuality
From another part of the UMC’s website:
4. Regarding ordination
(From the Book of Discipline section dealing with the ordained ministry, Paragraph 304.3)
“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals* are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
*Footnote — ” ‘Self-avowed practicing homosexual’ is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.”
Sigh. Another denomination continues its drifting away from the historical moorings of Scripture. So much for being authoritative in matters of faith and morals. If she’s not a “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” having just married her lesbian partner, I have no idea what is a self-avowed practicing homosexual. And the other disturbing thing is that not a single person on the jury thought she was guilty. 11 not guilty votes and 2 undecided. That’s the most clear sign of the total loss of Scripture as an authority.
I’m back from Mexico, and there were a lot of good times had there, including the insanely long drive back (17 hours!). It took us three hours just to get out of El Paso.
Anyway, I got back safely, only to spend less than forty-eight hours in Dallas before taking off to Fredericksburg, San Antonio, and Austin with Kathleen and her parents. It was her mom’s Spring Break at her school, and her dad decided to come on down and make it a family trip. We had a nice stay at a guest house called the Cowboy Orchard in Fredericksburg, and then a nice Bed and Breakfast called O’Casey’s in San Antonio. And who should we run but into Kristen and Mike (of This Classical Life) at the Alamo! It was a pleasant surprise, and we got to chat briefly. Kristen is looking very happily pregnant. Mike is the beaming father. It’s so exciting to be able to share a little in this unique time in their life, their first child.
So school starts up again on Monday, but I have stuff to take care of for school, before it even starts. Stink. I’ve got to take care of a writeup, and hopefully see some more patients, and just get that all knocked out of the way.
Ha! So it just came to light that I have completely failed to mention the medical missions trip I am about to embark on in about 4 hours. So if you’re reading this anytime soon, I’m probably on my way to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, there, or on my way back.
It’s a trip officially sponsored by the Baptist Student Ministries, with UT Southwestern and SMU people going, and doctors. I’m not nearly as excited as I thought I’d be, considering how I love missions and all. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t finished packing yet. Either way, I am kinda excited, just to be able to talk to people about stuff theological. I got to wax (or maybe wane – I’m not sure) theological earlier today while sorting drugs. It was so much fun. I don’t think I enjoy anything more than talking theology with people who are trying to work their way through it. People with REAL questions and REAL ponderings. Because it’s fun to throw ideas out there (hopefully Scriptural ones) and just chew on them together. Like Derek does at his concerts. Like Kimbell and Marable. Reese and Nathan.
Anyway, if you are so inclined, please be praying for safety for the drive, and for a good trip, defined as people dying to self, seeing their sin more, and then the grace of God that much more vibrantly.
The Derek Webb concert in Mesquite, Texas, on March 5, 2004.
Nobody Loves Me
Faith My Eyes
She Must and Shall Go Free
Just Don’t Want Coffee
Table for Two
Love is Different
Every Grain of Sand
Some choice quotations (slightly paraphrased):
We shouldn’t rejoice in the fact that we’re not so bad, but that we’re real sinners in need of a real savior.
We have to realize it’s not about convincing people we’re not that bad.
We have to be willing to ruin our reputation to love people.
We’re not looking at the cross because we’re not looking at our sin.
We’re just trying to tie the knots on our suit of fig leaves a little tighter, to cover ourselves and our sin up.
For every look we take a sin, we should look ten times at Christ.
CNN.com – The ‘Idol’ star who can’t sing – Feb. 23, 2004
This is one interesting article.
And note this response to the whole thing – I don’t actually know this blogger. The blogger is a friend of a friend, but there’s some interesting conversation going on about this in the person’s eProps section.
From Yahoo! News: Catholic Group Must Provide Birth Control
“A Roman Catholic charitable organization must include birth control coverage in its health care plan for workers even though it is morally opposed to contraception, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.”
Does anyone else find this profoundly disturbing? Essentially, the court just said that the Church is not allowed to follow its own convictions.
The next step will be something like churches not being allowed to not hire homosexual pastors, or maybe something smart like not being allowed to follow your convictions regarding theological teachings.