Friday, January 31, 2014


Ever since the Navy created the Sea Air Land Teams it was faced with a cruel dilemma; the Navy didn't want them. They were the orphans of Team Navy and it showed in how they were treated by that most personal of institutions within, the Bureau of Personnel. It was BUPERS that decided that the S in SEAL would not stand for "special." No. The S stands for Sea and because this was so, BUPERS insisted that every sailor that was a SEAL must take and pass the advancement exams specific to the Rate he had when he enlisted.

In short, SEALs would be graded solely on their ability to pass written exams in arcane subjects that had nothing at all to do with what they did every day in the Navy. Imagine you are a young hard charging sailor and you would like to get promoted to the next pay grade. You study hard and apply that knowledge to your day-to-day job of fixing engines, fixing heavy duty shipboard weapon systems, repairing electronics, etc. But SEALs don't do any of that in their day-to-day job.

You wouldn't want SEALs helping you out with repairing a radio or a huge marine diesel engine and even the SEALs knew better than to trust a boat in their hands which is why we still had the Special Boat Units made up of boat engineers, boat drivers and gunner's mates who are not SEALs.

So the SEALS were handicapped by an utterly ridiculous requirement to learn skills that had no bearing on their performance in order to impress BUPERS enough to get promoted. After 9/11 they hit upon a cunning plan. They convinced somebody that they should create their own rating called Special Operator and be tested on just that. BUPERS relented and allowed as how they could now be 'special'. One of the things SEALs are really good at is persuasion. They are post-docs of persuasion.

Her dad the SEAL is even more persuasive
College athletics has been in the same rut since Prohibition. They keep saying that they are nurturing and educating something called Student Athletes. I think we can all agree that it is possible that one can be both an outstanding student and an outstanding athlete but we all know that mostly that's a fiction we want to believe. Most colleges and universities within the NCAA make their athletic scholarship decisions based on just one factor and it isn't influenced in the least bit by whether the applicant can read and write. They then spend decades trying to deny and hide the fact that they chose athlete over student.

Bite the bullet guys. Just order the BURSAR to create the College of Athletics and create a curriculum designed for the modern athlete. Courses can focus on union organization, sports injuries - how to survive them and how to inflict them, sports medicine - with concentration on steroids and other performance enhancing drug regimes, Agents and how to handle them, weight training etc. The College can develop post graduate degree programs in Automotive Sales, Product Endorsement and Fashion Accessories for Men.

It's time to admit that while we can have student athletes, we cannot have athlete students and maintain a straight face when talking about how our universities are not compromising their standards. Don't compromise! Adapt! Overcome! Improvise! Change the paradigm.


  1. I ALWAYS buy Girl Scout cookies... usually twice. Once when they come to my door, and again when they accost me at Wally-World. We're into risk mitigation, BIG-time.

    As for the NCAA... I think the big state schools are the worst. Notre Dame has a pretty good record when it comes to "student athletes," especially in their football program. They're not at all bad in college hockey, either.

  2. Yep, I get the same thing. I buy at home, at the office and when mobbed by them outside of Home Depot. I honestly don't mind that colleges recruit top athletes. I despise the hypocrisy which clearly results in students of wildly different academic standing getting exactly the same degree. I don't see any reason not to have a College of Athletics and make it just like the Schools of Liberal Arts, Engineering, Medicine, Law, etc.

  3. As a former scholarship athlete at LSU I fully represent your remarks--in fact I totally resemble them!

    1. One of my early college room mates was a walk on as kicker for a major NCAA powerhouse. He was brilliant and talented far beyond yhs. He got admitted to school and the scholarship came later. He left after the first year because the rest of the team drove him nuts. I could totally support the idea of a College of Athletics though and seeing how that is so, I certainly think they ought to get paid the going rate. It stopped being a game back around 1918.