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KenW

I guess I haven't seen it all yet.....

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In my other post, I thought I'd seen something that would define the ridiculous but now I'm not so sure it can stand up to this:

Powe's case a landmark for NCAA

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's far from a certainty, but every sign points to Jerrell Powe being cleared to play college football as early as Thursday.

In many ways, Powe's story is a wonderful one. It's a survival tale of sorts, a case study in determination and tenacity.

The only problem is Powe can't read. At least that's what his mother, Shirley Powe, said in a letter to NCAA officials when she begged for her son to be admitted to Ole Miss.

"Jerrell really is a good child but he just can't read," Shirley Powe said in papers that were filed on her son's behalf by his attorneys, the same ones who appear to be on the verge of making the NCAA blink.

Powe left Waynesboro, Miss., two years ago, ranked No. 6 on the Press-Register's Super Southeast 120. He'd have been ranked higher, probably No. 1, had his academic situation been different. However, his high school transcript was described by one college coach as a "train wreck."

Powe enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, received his diploma and successfully completed 14 correspondence courses from Brigham Young University from April 2005 through this summer. He thought he was in the clear but for whatever reason -- the hot rumor is another SEC coach called in a favor of a friend at the NCAA and had Powe flagged; the veracity of that rumor is unknown -- the NCAA Clearinghouse challenged the academic integrity of his work and ultimately deemed him ineligible.

Enter a Jackson, Miss., law firm and a Lafayette (Miss.) County Chancery Court judge. All parties involved reached a compromise late last week: Powe can enroll at Ole Miss as a part-time student while his attorneys and the NCAA review his case.

Insiders believe the NCAA will fold Thursday. In fact, there is speculation that a deal is already in place. As compelling as that story is, to get caught up in those details is to miss the point.

How did Powe ever end up in this quandary?

"I didn't know until he was almost finished he wasn't getting the education he should have gotten," Shirley Powe said in court documents made public. "I have to work to support my family and have never been able to help my children with homework."

There's Clue No. 1. Powe grew up with nothing, in a single-parent home where mom worked, dad was nowhere to be found and the school system shuffled him along year after year. Then, when it became obvious that Powe was a stud on the football field -- an unblockable, 6-foot-1, 330-pound monster of a defensive tackle -- the school's officials did what they needed to do to keep him eligible.

Turns out Powe has a learning disorder, possibly dyslexia, which wasn't discovered until Powe had completed the 11th grade. Allowed to take an untimed version of the ACT, Powe made a composite score of 18, including a 22 in reading comprehension.

I've met Jerrell Powe. I spent time with him in Chatham, Va., one crisp afternoon last April. He didn't strike me as dumb. Quite the contrary, his answers to my questions were contemplative and intelligent. Powe is a sweet kid, a gentle giant -- or at least he was then.

Now, he is stuck in the middle of a debate with no right or wrong answers. Should a non-reader be admitted into an institution of higher learning? Should Powe not be granted admission to the NFL's minor leagues, otherwise known as college football, and given the opportunity to pursue the career path where prosperity and self-improvement are most possible?

Your answers probably depend on who you cheer for on Saturday afternoons, and they probably shouldn't. Powe is a person, not a pawn. You can't blame Ole Miss and Ed Orgeron for trying to get Powe into school unless you're willing to blame every program and coach who also tried to land Powe's signature -- and there were plenty. If you insist on distributing blame, dish it out to the people in Wayne County who failed Powe so miserably. I'd say they should all resign if it weren't so likely that there are Jerrell Powes all over the country, slipping through the cracks while no one notices.

Unlike Powe, those anonymous kids aren't football stars. Instead, they're probably destined for lives of poverty and/or crime and since we don't know their stories, we really don't care.

That, sadly, is the real moral of the Jerrell Powe story, regardless of its outcome.

So tell me...just how did a kid who CAN'T READ score a 22 on READING COMPREHENSION????:blink: :blink:

I don't know what's more ridiculous....the thought of a kid who can't read trying to make it in college or that his family thinks they could possibly win a case in court. On what grounds? How could a judge allow that? How could that decision be defended legally and morally? I know it's all about $$ but what happened to the integrity of a college degree? If I'm an Ole Miss grad, I'm raising he!! over this one. Just plain crazy IMO.

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In my other post, I thought I'd seen something that would define the ridiculous but now I'm not so sure it can stand up to this:

So tell me...just how did a kid who CAN'T READ score a 22 on READING COMPREHENSION????:blink: :blink:

He can read, he's just REALLY slow about it.

I don't know what's more ridiculous....the thought of a kid who can't read trying to make it in college or that his family thinks they could possibly win a case in court. On what grounds? How could a judge allow that? How could that decision be defended legally and morally? I know it's all about $$ but what happened to the integrity of a college degree? If I'm an Ole Miss grad, I'm raising he!! over this one. Just plain crazy IMO.

He won't get a degree. But with tutoring, he'll get more college than he would have any other way, and will have a career in football potentially when he's done. I agree college football shouldn't exist in the state it does, but it does, so academics should be flexible for it.

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Slow? His mother, Shirley, stated in that article that he could not read. Maybe I'm interpreting that incorrectly but I'm making a distinction between "can't" and "slow". I know it's the way things work these days and yes, he may end up in the NFL with a great career and millions of dollars that he otherwise wouldn't have had a shot at but it still rubs me entirely the wrong way. Maybe I'm being a bit holier-than-thou over this but this is just plain wrong. It's just not fair to the kids who are legit in their academic endeavors and achievements. Ah well, no skin off my nose. I'm not a Ole Miss grad. In any event, it should be fun to watch this one play out. I have a feeling that this challenge will be quite a frustration for the ncaa clearinghouse. I can only imagine the floodgates bursting open if this goes to court and he wins.

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Kids like what? With learning disabilities, but who are still bright and articulate, and who are able to do well even tho they are slow readers?

I don't see how having another kid on the football team who isn't the best reader hurts anyone at all. It brings more money into the university, it helps him get an education, and it puts him on a level playing field with other football players, most of whom aren't ever going to get a degree, but who will be attending the schools in order to play football. They don't really interact with the main student body, they don't get fake degrees that devalue the rest of the degrees, and they bring in alumni money.

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What good is a football player that's on academic probation though? I'm not sure what it's like at big D1 schools, but my Universities athletic department enforced a pretty strict rule that if you didn't get C's or above, you didn't participate in your sport.

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Here at UConn, they do everyhting possible to make sure their big players can play. Like last year, Marcus Williams only had to sit out half the season for stealing 7 laptops from students, while anyone else in the university gets booted for simple vandalism of property.

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