Similar problems involving money, sex, and drugs have plagued college athletic programs for a long time.
The Oklahoma State University football program has recently come under fire for benefits that football players were receiving, including money illegally given to players, passing grades given to players for just attending class and illegal drugs such as marijuana.
OSU’s scandal was first made known by Sports Illustrated by releasing a five part series on the infractions committed by the program from 1999 to 2011. They did this by conducting a large number of interviews of former players.
One of the main talking points about this scandal was the little amount of work OSU football players had to complete in order to pass classes. Players often had tutors or university employees complete their schoolwork for them.
To the average college student, this isn’t considered fair. Especially to John Brown University students who believe athletes should be required to complete their work and receive their own grades.
JBU senior Rachel Brown said that it was a “Very selfish choice made by OSU and the players, and a choice they will have to live with.”
Others believe that OSU was simply shorting its football players by handing out free grades.
“Students should be doing their work, no matter if they are an athlete or not. A lot of college athletes don’t go pro, so if they didn’t do anything in those four years, they will have no knowledge of what degree they have. So in the eyes of their employers, they will be incompetent,” JBU junior Romello Williams said.
By comparison, most athletes at JBU are required by their respective coaches to sit in the front two rows of their classes, and of course, complete their own work.
JBU student Kat Hollingsworth found it “frustrating that athletes at OSU can receive the same grades that average hardworking college students can receive without the work.”
Hollingsworth, like Williams, believes OSU was not helping the football players out. She said it was “foolish on the schools part because the entire purpose of college is for higher education, not for higher sporting.”
The issue OSU now has to face is the aftermath and rebuilding process that follows in a scandal like this. Many important steps in doing so must be taken by the OSU administration and athletic department.
JBU student John Owen believes the OSU athletic director and coaches should be let go and a new staff should be hired.
“Cheating is cheating, and the sports program created a structure to get the work done for them,” he said.
Hollingsworth said OSU should find athletes that “Are well rounded individuals as well as well rounded athletes,” and also that “positive reinforcement” for the athletes would be beneficial.