Drake just not making the grade

Marcus Charter

I wished we lived in a world where people could be more honest with themselves. Those four Drake students who got booted off the team for academic reasons were there to play ball, plain and simple.Is a 2.0 grade point average too difficult a level to maintain? Probably not. I have a friend at Iowa State who will graduate with well above a 3.0, and he managed this while staying well liquored up and high on a wide array of medicinals for the duration of his four years here. The bottom line is that the players who didn’t make the grade simply didn’t care enough to try.In my opinion, if you looked around at Drake’s study table most nights, you would not have seen the smiling face of four Bulldogs. For all of the praise Drake receives for their level of academics, it is safe to say they shot an airball here.Unlike Drake, Iowa State has some pretty rigid demands when it comes to their athletes getting the grades they need to stay eligible. I know of athletes who have to attend study table regularly, up to ten hours a week for some people. Other athletes who are approaching the brink of disaster have to go so far as to call and report to their respective athletic office when they reach their class and call again when the class is over. Players also have to meet every two weeks or so with their professors to review their class progress. If it is sub-par, then the coaches will make the necessary amendments to that athlete’s social life.No one who is based in reality really believes that Dontaie Smith and Lamont Evans were at Drake to receive an education. These two burnouts were there to try to take their game to the next level and they needed an institution of higher education to catapult them to their goals. If only those damned classes didn’t get in the way.Something is going on at Drake that apparently isn’t happening here, and I applaud Iowa State’s effort in keeping their athletes eligible. It hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, but the ratio of players that stay eligible to those that don’t is overwhelming. I know of one football player who got the boot after playing in the Insight.com Bowl. Apparently, he didn’t have the insight to investigate his grades. He is no longer at this university.Drake took a risk on a couple of junior college transfers, and it didn’t pay off. I don’t think they ever seriously thought that Smith and Evans would excel in the classroom, but it was probably understood between both parties that a meager attempt at success would have to be made. Iowa State has made similar moves recently, but unlike Coach Kanaskie at Drake, Coach Eustachy has been fortunate enough to look like Nostradamus. Jamaal Tinsley could have been classified as a major academic risk before his transfer here. Grades had been the one thing holding him back, but Eustachy was convinced that Tinsley could survive in this school environment that has been made athlete friendly. That is not a slight against Tinsley in any way. He has managed to stay eligible and be the best point guard in the country at the same time. Iowa State has done an excellent job in the programs they have implemented to keep their athletes in line.So now Drake is down to seven players and their season is pretty much down the toilet. The problem could have been prevented if Drake was looking out for their student athletes to the extent that Iowa State is looking out for theirs. Instead, one player’s career is over, one will have to wait until next year, and the reputation of Drake academics is seriously in question.Marcus Charter is a sophomore in journalism and mass communication from Ames. He is eligible to write for the Daily by all NCAA standards.