I watched the March Madness seating live on television yesterday and saw my alma mater receive her invitation for this year’s Big Dance.
 
After celebratory Facebook postings on Saturday (when we clinched our berth) and Sunday (when it was formally announced), I read Inside Higher Ed’s annual academic brackets and was shocked to see that my team was booted in the first round.
 
In other words, not only are we underdogs on the court, but our student-athletes persist and graduate at lower rates than our first round opponent’s players.
 
I’ve picked myself up off the floor and am securely back on my favorite soapbox. The tournament is a reminder of the importance of the term “student-athlete” and the expectation we must place upon our athletic departments to do more than entertain us.  Our passions as sports fans must not overpower the opportunity these students have in the classroom.
 
To deprive them of the chance to earn a degree is the ultimate in madness.
 
PS—A friend told me she picked her bracket based on death cage matches between mascots and in that scenario my alma mater did pretty well.  So, take that Inside Higher Ed ;).