Free Thought
Former UT football stars aren't shining

by Tom Palaima
The Good Life November 2008

Regarding the issues raised in the Texas Monthly and The Good Life pieces, it is my belief that athletes in big-time money-making sports are being short-changed in both their academic education (including the natural maturing process a normal education provides) and their education through sports competition.

Competition in sports is educational if it is real competition. Real competition teaches us lessons about life. No matter how talented we are as individuals, we learn how to cooperate with teammates and how to use our own skills for the good of the team. Most importantly, we also learn that there is a limit to what we can do individually. And we learn to win and lose as members of a team.

During his years at UT Austin, Vince Young compiled a 30-2 record as starting quarterback. Most of those wins came in games against inferior teams that UT grossly outspends in recruiting, facilities, coaching salaries and glamor.

Of 38 games in Young's 2003-2005 seasons, only 9 were reasonably competitive (against teams ranked 20th or higher).

Of those 9, there were only 4 games where UT was at a slight rating disadvantage.

The Longhorns average victory margin in their 29 absurdly non-competitive games was 33 points (nearly five touchdowns)!!!

Against such outclassed competition, Young never had to face his athletic shortcomings: mainly his unorthodox throwing motion and his relying on his own physical prowess in order to win. Worse yet, he never had to face losing in a serious way.

This is yet another way in which Longhorns Inc. gives its star athletes a second-rate education.

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