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If Cs get degrees, what do A, T, and S get me?

If camping out is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.


A friend pointed me toward an article recently, posted on none other than, regarding the simultaneously symbiotic and competitive nature of athletics and education at Division One universities. It’s a pretty good article, albeit extremely long and riddled with full-on Dook love, that piqued my interest regarding our own beloved University.


The bulk of the article addressed athletics’ negative effects on academia, citing at one point University of Oregon’s Glen Waddell (yes, his name is Waddell, and yes, his mascot is the duck). However, instead of dwelling on the issues I was expecting, like how games and practices present challenges to the student-athletes, the article zagged and provided information regarding a successful program’s repercussions on the entire student body. It’s less surprising that the article mentions this side effect than it is how rarely I’ve thought about it, considering it makes perfect sense. The details are there for you if you want to read them, but to put too fine a point on it, when the Ducks were successful, the average male’s GPA dropped 0.02 points for every three football games won over an eight year span. Apparently the women’s grades didn’t take such a hit. Surprise, surprise. Really though, it’s not shocking that it’s the men who suffered, since we tend to get a little more caught up in these things (not that we’re bigger fans necessarily, only that we’re more easily enthralled).


Of particular interest were the paragraphs regarding basketball “campouts”. Unfortunately, Dook got the lion’s share of the attention (although maybe the author hasn’t seen the condition of Krzyzewskiville lately), but there was this gem about our own obsession:


K-Ville is legendary, but similar scenes play out at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, North Carolina State, the University of Missouri, San Diego State and Xavier University, where students line up or camp out for days to get into games. At the University of Kentucky, they camp out for access to the official start of basketball practice [emphasis in original].


Clearly, even among the crazy, we are insane.


The author, however, opines how these campouts take attention away from studying, referencing crotchety professors at a couple big-time schools, and bemoans the dip in library articles researched after March Madness games. While it’s news to me that libraries are open during the Final Four, it poses an interesting question. Those of you who are students at UK, or really anywhere in the state, do you feel that Big Blue Madness has affected your academic performance at any point? The evidence is there; the results are demonstrable. It probably has. And those of you who are parents with college-age (or soon-to-be-college-age) kids, would you rather your son or daughter go to a school with little to no athletic tradition, like Louisville, in order to make sure they focus on education? Some of us are lucky and have our grades determined by a curve (thanks, law school), so if everybody’s got Cats Fever, no big deal. But for other departments, the adverse affect is very real; your religious following of basketball prodigies could be making you hampering your book-learnin’s.


But is it even a big deal? Is the focus on athletics really something to be concerned about, or just a harmless byproduct of something that’s inarguably an asset to the school and the state?  We’ve got a big year ahead of us, and many more to come, that could stir up just the sort of furor that would drop GPAs statewide.  But, all things considered, I can’t bring myself to say it isn’t a fair deal.  Cs get degrees, and BBN gets #8.  Totally worth it.


TL;DR: Nerds are jealous of our basketball team and complain that we don’t read books in March.

Article written by Corey Nichols

29 Comments for If Cs get degrees, what do A, T, and S get me?

  1. Onthetoilet
    9:11 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Yay sports!

  2. Just Sayin...
    9:11 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    The effects of March Madness are well documented everywhere, including the workplace. It’s not a surprise that it would reach a college campus. I guess football has that same effect at football schools…

  3. Al's IndiCats
    9:12 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    In a study conducted 7 years ago, a related study was done at the University of Looserville in where not only the “L” student picked up books in the months of March and April a noticeable degree was found that they stayed WELL within the lines of the pictures they colored.

  4. wilDCat
    9:17 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I literally did nothing if I was at school and a game was on, except watch a stream of the game. Now that I’m working, if we play an afternoon game during the week, I go home early. There is no other way.

  5. ktmiln2
    9:19 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    TL;DR version is dead on.

  6. Fan1
    9:26 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Here again we see people, including the NYT folks, who are quoting raw numbers with no real statistical analysis being applied. Where is the proof that the data sample is statistically meaningful? Just because numbers drop during a certain period of time is not proof that some particular event was the cause. We need to see more analysis before we accept such notions.

  7. Kyle Almek
    9:27 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I didnt go to UK but was still involved with my university’s athletics by attending most games. That and socializing on weekends didn’t stop me from obtaining a 3.5 GPA at graduation. I see it as a personal balance rather than just one force from the sports dept.

  8. Blue in the Vein
    9:29 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Sure UK basketball has effected my grades. I don’t miss a game test or not. But so does beer and titties.

  9. Eggs Zachary
    9:34 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    7) Amen. There is a correlation but where is the true statistical analysis to determine if there is causation? This is something that us Americans and our media forget to discuss when spouting off random statistics. Is it really significant and where is the proof? Gimme some math.

  10. UKEng
    9:36 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Distractions are distractions. It really does not matter how they manifest themselves. It is the students’ fault how we choose our priorities. This study seems like a waste because it is so common sense. Yes, sports have an effect on people, that is why there are sports in the first place.

  11. Walker
    9:36 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I go to Morehead State and miss class for a week every year to go to Campout. I feel like BBM Campout has for sure effected my academic performance. lol

  12. Aaron Blankenship
    9:42 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I decided not to go to law school because the LSAT fell on the same day as the UNC game.

  13. Class
    9:43 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m a Freshman at UK and thus far I cannot blame sports has affected my academia. I’ve been to almost ALL home games (walking back and forth from my dorm cause the parking is whack, I’ve been to a few away games and I camped for Madness and for UNC tickets. I guess it depends on how you balance your study time also. On a side note, UK basketball is a thing to be taken lightly. During SEC tournament time in my Middle School and High School years, my parents would pick me up from school early so that I could watch the game. When the NCAA tournament came around and the Cats lost, it was expected that I wouldn’t be at school the next day. UK basketball is religion to some of folks, its not to be taken lightly and nothing is better!

  14. GoBlue!
    9:54 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    In high school I skipped school to go to the S.E.C. tournament. At my college, the tournament was over spring break so it was a non-issue. In law school I skipped school to go the SEC tournament. Now that I have a job, I take off work to go to the SEC tournament and some away games. So yeah, sports have an effect, but it’s sure no unique to college campuses!

  15. College Grad with Masters
    9:56 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    A list of all the things I missed class for in college: UK games, BBM camp out, BBall ticket lottery, hangovers, drunkenness, special time with a lady friend, laziness, video games, out too late at strip club night before, hunger, illness, and a funeral. Two degrees later (both from Uk during tubby and billy clyde experiment) and now I have a great job with great benefits. Thanks college.

  16. Clam
    10:07 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Although I wasted A LOT of time while I was at UK (graduating during the magical ’96 year), this was more a function of my immaturity, rather than the effects of sports. College students at schools with little or no emphasis on athletics still get wasted, do really dumb things, and squander precious opportunities; that’s why the saying “Youth is wasted on the young” was invented. Check out the article on Deadspin yesterday about SAE hazing at Dartmouth. Darthmouth is no athletic powerhouse, but its students find a way to get just as distracted as those at UK or other athletic schools.

    I am not completely comfortable with the “bread and circuses” of major college athletics, but I think most college students will find some way to screw up, regardless of what the “distraction” is.

  17. Eloy
    10:26 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    # 7 and # 8 are both correct. Combine those 2 comments and you have a piece just as meaningful as the NYT article.

  18. ChicagoCat
    10:42 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    17 – I wholly agree. It’s a little unfair to single out college sports as a cause when some students are literally just there for the “Cs get degrees” attitude that Corey so eloquently put in his title. Some students are literally looking for any reason to skip class or study time so it might as well be March Madness. Others will watch the games in class or study with the game on mute (double win). Still others will watch fervently and then pull all-nighters and ace the exam. We call those people awesome.

  19. uk3k
    10:57 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    how many times in college did i sit down to write a big paper and then end up reading about what jai lucas was doing.

  20. Beavis
    11:11 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    In 1996, I took a B in two easy general education classes (astronomy and sociology) in which I had to that point had a A so that I could follow the Cats around the country in March. When we went to New Jersey for the Final Four, I had a professor specifically tell the class that going to the Final Four was not an excuse to miss a test scheduled for the Monday of the championship game, but I went anyway and, of course, he postponed the exam. So, yes, following the Cats affected my grades in two classes, but I am glad that my priorities were in order.

  21. gotcfizzle
    11:59 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I attended UK from 2004-2008. I went to tons of games (mostly football and basketball), I camped out for tickets, I waited for hours in line to get into the e-rupption zone, I skipped class to go to the introduction ceremony for BCG (yikes). There were countless times that athletics took priority over academics. I still graduated with a 3.4 GPA, and got into the grad school of my choice (and a top 5 national program). Not a big deal. By the way, I am a female.

  22. Steven
    12:02 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I find this to be fairly accurate. I am a die hard UK fan here at Texas A&M and once basketball season is in full swing I find myself on KSR for hours reading the latest articles. Also, here at Texas A&M I am part of the Corps of Cadets, which is a student organization of +2000 that trains future military officers. Anyways, a strong part of the Aggie tradition is march-in home games and a couple in-state march in away games. So all in all, we have to attend 7-9 Aggie football games. This pretty much takes away our whole Saturday because of the hours of preparation and practice beforehand, then the 2 hours to march-in, and then we have to stay for the whole football game. We are not allowed to leave early no matter how big we are winning or losing. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else in the world, but there is a huge drop in grades in the fall compared to the spring. I almost would want to say a .1-.3 drop in GPA on average.

  23. EggMan
    12:42 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Do I feel like UK is hurting my gpa? Well, I live in Dallas, but I had class during Tuesday night’s game. I took this pic and sent it to my dad that lives in Lexington: [IMG][/IMG]

  24. JoeBob'sFineFoods
    12:45 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    A stupid, meaningless use of an insignificant number to make a predetermined point. BS journalism.

  25. HP7
    1:20 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Campouts and hype do affect student athlete grades more than many fans realize. For example, the BBM campout that takes place on UK’s campus happens right outside the center for athlete tutoring, as anyone who has atteneded the campout can attest. This annual event proves to be a major distraction to athletes of any sport as well as the tutoring center employees; the students are distracted from getting their work done and the tutors have the added task of getting the students to calm down and focus after being exposed to the madness. In fact, some athletes even express frustration with the BBM crowd. Fans have a hard time understanding that these athletes are also students and that the student alone is responsible for his or her grades. Furthermore, in many situations, student athletes have never been told that they are smart and capable of achieving good grades because they have only been praised for their athletic ability. That is unacceptable. Student athletes should be encouraged not only in their athletic talent but in academics as well. These athletes are role models and fans need to help them set the example for achievement by acknowledging that success in academics is a vital part of beig a successf student athlete.

  26. Shizzle
    1:34 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    If it weren’t for UK sports, I might have graduated from college. I clearly got the better hand in that deal…its all about the CATS. Nothing else except family matters.

  27. Rollin'
    2:17 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    This person went to some school where they didn’t have sports and they are sad now. I have been at UK for 3 years and not once has BBM had some effect on my studying. This is stupid.

  28. Lovely
    6:14 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I am graduating from UK with a 3.9 GPA in May. My professors gave us excused absences if we were traveling to the Final Four and had to miss class. I would have gotten a B in East Asian History with or without BBN distractions.

  29. Dr Mike
    11:12 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Big UK fan and as a student in dental school in 1978, a classmate, my wife, and I drove to Lexington on a Monday evening to watch the NCAA FINALS that night. We had two exams the next day; but, it had been over 20 years since we had won the NCAA. We had to be there. We watched game with my wife’s family, partied in the streets after we won, went to airport to welcome team home, and flunked two exams on Tuesday. Would never change a thing. In the grand scale of my life, it was worth it.