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CURIOUS INDEX, 3/17/08

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Jim Delany, eat my poo. Whole plates of it, please. February 9th, 2007:

I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university. Fortunately, we have been able to balance our athletic and academic mission so that we can compete successfully and keep faith with our academic standards.

The Ann Arbor News is running a four-part examination of athletes and academics at Michigan, and in sum it sounds just as dodgy in terms of boutique majors stuffed with rote learning as any other major school in any other major conference.

You made academics cry, Michigan! They're only supposed to do that at Juno and right before their tenure review, dammit!

With the fall term drawing to a close, Jay Basten monitored students taking his final exam in Sport Management 111, a course at the University of Michigan.

During the essay test last December, one undergraduate - an athlete - caught Basten's attention.

"I could tell by the look on his face, and also based on the work he had done previously in class, that he had no clue what to write," Basten said. "It was a 50-minute exam, and he probably wrote three sentences."

Basten said the experience almost brought tears to his eyes. But the full-time kinesiology lecturer added that watching a Michigan student-athlete struggle is not an isolated occurrence.

The details shouldn't shock, even for an august academic institution like Michigan. We're more than comfortable with the notion that BCS grade college football is at its core a professional sport operating under the aegis of academic institutions. What is--oh, just piquant, we tell you!--is that we get to tell Jim Delany to dine on poo, because his conference's flagship athletic/academic titan, doing it "the right way," has to resort to the kind of academic funneling done at legendarily accomodating schools like Auburn or USF.

They don't read the NYT Leisure Section in between sets, either. Larry Asante says Nebraska's making a bit more of their time in the weight room this year, meaning they're lifting weights less like you, and most definitely not thumbing through their iPod while deciding whether or not it's gay to use the hip adductor machine.

“(Last year), we had a long time between sets. Everybody would take five minutes between sets. It’s like rapid fire (now). You do everything boom-boom-boom-boom. It’s nonstop. And once you enter the weight room, you’re not allowed to leave the weight room until you’re done.”

Asante, who can't finish this one tricky shoulder move, plans on leaving the weight room some time in the next three weeks. Until then he's licking the condensation from the pipes and eating PowerBar scraps from the floor. BTW: hip adductor machine, not gay, but watch the shorts, man. No one needs to look up from their leg curls and find themselves staring at your manpurse sagging from the leg of your pants.

The debate over the next Reveille rages on at Texas A&M:

The idea of choosing a mascot based on how 'tough' it looks is also problematic. Many breeds today face legislation because of these perceptions. We should not promote these false ideas by choosing a mascot based on what dog breeds are seen as vicious. Vicious' breeds such as American Pit Bull Terriers and Dobermans make excellent, loving companions in the hands of a proper owner.

We reiterate: adopt Flex-o-mutt, the double muscled whippet/Bicep Terrier! Pleasant whippet disposition, horrifying steroidal physique!

Failing that, see if you can find a mastiff with this genetic quirk. Because nothing says Texas to us more than a double-muscled mastiff.

Noel Devine say his misdemeanor assault charge was, of course, a misunderstanding. Most things involving someone threatening you with a bottle are.

That's a lot of taffy. Les Miles wants more taffy, please. $3.75 million dollars of taffy. LSU bring him taffy. Les happy with taffy, says taffy shows much respect for Les Miles. Les eat damn fine taffy. Les happy.