Monday, August 25, 2014

Lessons to learn from the ProdiGOLSON

It all seems a bit ironic. While reading "The Making of a Man" by Notre Dame football legend Tim Brown, and I was struck by one of the many truths he offers his readers. Brown writes, "An author and congressman names Bruce Barton once wrote 'Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things'."

It's ironic because Barton's words have proven all too real and true for the Fightin' Irish. In the past two years alone, the football and basketball teams have suffered because of violations against academic integrity.
When it comes to academics, Golson said, Notre Dame is tough but "manageable."
As an alum and a sports fan, what frustrates me most is that students are not learning from the mistakes of their peers. Cheating on an exam, submitting a paper you did not write for credit, copying the answers for a test are not "little things." And the consequences are real. Everett Golson, our starting quarterback missed his entire junior year. Jerian Grant, point guard and leading scorer of the men's basketball team missed the bulk of his senior year. And most recently, four football players—three of who are prominent athletes are under investigation.

For high school and college students, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. Student athletes are no exception; they are subject to stress and desperation. I didn't complete the reading. I wasn't in class to take notes. I don't have time to study. I need to do what I need to do—right now. No one gets hurt anyway.

Such rationalizations are misguided. Many people get hurt, your teammates and coaches, your family, classmates, and your teacher. And what no student ever realizes are the channels a teacher must take to prove that a student's work is not their own: it is close to a legal course of action. The student is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

I have often not wanted to fight that fight, but to not do so compromises the standard. Furthermore, it is personally devastating. Too often, it alienates teacher and student. I have had students flat out deny allegations. I take no joy in the process. In short, everyone loses.

But there's one other very important person that loses—the student who makes that choice. In the Wall Street Journal article "Is Notre Dame Football Too Demanding," Golson said "his suspension last season left him humiliated. 'You are at your lowest point,' he said. 'I was so downtrodden. I had to educate myself'."
Nothing fun about this press conference
I had hoped that students would learn from the example that was made of Everett Golson; many didn't. Perhaps his testimony will.

Adolescence isn't easy. No one ever said it would be. Yes, it's a time to make mistakes and ideally, one learns from those mistakes. But it's also a time to learn from others—their mistakes and all. And that is why, in spite of it all, I do love the T-shirt many Notre Dame faithful are wearing: Return of the ProdiGOLSON. We'll see him this coming Saturday.

Go Irish. Beat Owls.

Photo Credits
Golson and Kelly

Swarbrick and Jenkins
A great read! Enjoyed Tim Brown's words so much 

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