Saturday, August 11, 2007

Harbaugh Follow-up

Of course, right after I publish my post on the Harbaugh situation, MGoBlog comes out with a outstanding analysis that takes Harbaugh, ESPN's Pat Forde and other critics to task for proclaiming something that is plain as day to anyone with half a brain as if it were earth-shattering news.

MGoBlog also takes all of us to task for our narrow definition of education, and of intelligence:

I find the lazy, stupid athlete stereotype irritating, and always have. Is intelligence a simple vector that you have or do not? I have always been very, very "smart" and felt that I got far too much credit for an aptitude for standardized tests and memorization when I knew that the guys truly marked for success didn't have truculent attitudes towards people that were slightly different from them. There is a certain sort of social aptitude that I lack that, a particular sort of empathy and intelligence far more important in the world than the ability to sort out the Pythagorean theorem in no time flat, but how do you measure that? I'll tell you: find my salary and that of class president Tom O'Neill, a man the entire world liked, in ten years and get back to me. I'll lose. So who's to say that Mario Manningham isn't "smart"? I've watched him perfectly set up cornerbacks time and again, burning them deep when they know what's coming. Even if Manningham couldn't spell his own name -- something I am not asserting is true, for the record -- he would still be a particular sort of genius.

The point being that one of the primary goals of a university education is to prepare students for life after they leave. In that sense, pushing athletes into majors that fit our narrow sense of intelligence doesn't make them any more prepared for the future than their participation in big time athletics does.