March 30th, 2010
04:56 PM ET
13 years ago

Duncan: Some student athletes 'simply used' by universities

Washington (CNN) - On the same day that President Obama signed legislation revamping the federal student loan system, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told CNN he is concerned about the education of some NCAA athletes.

Related: 'We have to educate our way to a better economy,' says Duncan

"I was lucky enough to have a phenomenal college athletic experience," Duncan says in an interview set to air on John King, USA. "The vast majority of student athletes get that. I worry when athletes are simply used by their universities to produce revenue, to make money for them, nothing to show at the back end. I grew up with a lot of players who had very, very tough lives after the ball started bouncing for them. And that's why I'm going to continue to fight."

Programming note: Watch more of Duncan's interview on John King, USA beginning at 7 p.m. E.T.

Filed under: Arne Duncan • Education • JKUSA • John King USA • Popular Posts
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. shoegazer

    College's using athletes you say.No,really.I have always wondered why the majority of them major in "speech communications".

    March 30, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. Perusing-through

    OH MY . . .

    After all these decades, somebody has finally noticed.

    March 30, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Elliott Carlin

    This guy is a genius, someone put him in the cabinet. Oops, he's already there.

    "We initially caused this problem, now we have the solution."

    He'll do to education what they did to healthcare

    March 30, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is a problem that has been plaguing young college athletics for years and it's past time to put education guidelines in place, that's the purpose of one going to college. Parents also need to be more involved in their students getting a college education than just showing up at a game to give game play praise.

    March 30, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. Jin

    University Athletics are based on the concept of: "promise them the stars and give them a good look at the ceiling!!" Look at any major university's graduation rate [and use the figure of how many scholarships given when measuring how many "graduate."]. The figures are shameful when one considers the amount of dollars student athletes bring into a university. It is particularly egregious when one considers how little of athletic "profits" go to further educational goals of the university. Between actual tickets and "memorabilia" the enterprise can bring in millions and almost nothing goes to the universities. And do not listen to those who tout athletics as "character-building." If anything all it builds is greed and a willingness to "lie, cheat, or steal" to win.

    March 30, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. Denverguy

    Most school give these kids a chance. They would have no chance with out their athletic abilities it goes hand in hand. No school wants their players not to graduate. I graduated from an ACC school and these student were treated like Gods on campus. They were housed in better housing fed better food and had all the chances in the world to get their degree. If they don't graduate its their fault not the NCAA, stop blaming everyone. Its always up to the student.

    March 30, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Mike

    I was lucky enough to play basketball at a Division III school where there were no athletic scholarships. Even starters would sometimes skip a practice to study for an exam or complete a project.. Over the summers I played ball with several of my former high school teammates who were playing for Division I schools. The most telling comment was "after I finish my eligibility I want to go one more year to see what college is really like". As for the quality of the "education" they got, one who started for a Division I school did return to my high school, as a janitor.

    As other have said, at least at Division I schools, it is all about the money. The athletic department exists to advertise the school to potential students and donors and as a farm system for professional sports.

    March 30, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Bob of Lompoc

    Halt all tax payer supported athletics at all school levels, football, basketball, baseball, the whole deal, until the economy is back to normal. That will get the attention of EVERYONE.

    March 30, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Bob of Lompoc

    Well Duh! Welcome to the World Mr. Secretary. Did you read that in a book?

    March 30, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. John from Brooklyn

    Amen Arne Duncan and the Obama Administration for holding universities accountable for fulfilling the commitments they make to student athletes.

    March 30, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. jbakaregit

    Thank you Mr. Secretary of Education.

    President Obama talked plenty about the student loan reformation bill he just signed, but he also noted that colleges & universities need to reform themselves. I too was an athlete and I saw how the revenue-sport players were treated like cattle to bring in all this revenue for the school. Athletic departments finances is completely out of whack, what with the coaches making a steal, yet the professors make so much less. When athletics takes precedent over academics, the highest-revenue sport coach, boosters, etc. are more powerful than the president of the university is.

    Athletic department mismanagement at major universities, despite the revenue it brings in, puts athletics over academics which isn't right.

    March 30, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. AndyO

    "A lot of YOUNG athletes are drafted 'directly' into the NFL/NBA directly out of high school"

    False. The NFL is forbidden from drafting players until they are 3 years removed from high school and the NBA cannot draft until athletes are one year removed from high school. Get you facts in line before you comment.

    "Go back to when the NFL/NBA could ONLY draft from universities/colleges"

    This has NEVER been the case for either of these leagues.

    March 30, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
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