Stanford drops list of easy ‘jock courses’ for athletes

March 10th, 2011 by Staff — Athletes at Stanford won’t have an easy class list to help them plan their schedules next semester. Officials at the university discontinued the controversial guide after it was suspected that it provided athletes with an unfair academic advantage.
The list, which highlighted dozens of classes with a reputation for being easy, had been around for a decade and was available at an athlete resource center. Some athletes said it was a list that led to an easy grade. School officials insist it was designed to accommodate athletes, whose practice schedules can make it difficult to attend certain classes.
Whatever its intention, the list is gone, discontinued after Stanford students from California Watch started poking around.
The San Francisco Chronicle later reported the story a well, describing the “Courses of Interest” list, which was distributed by the Athletic Academic Resource Center:
The center’s four advisers compiled the list to help student athletes find introductory classes that fit into constrained time schedules and fulfilled general education requirements. Afternoon practices mean that athletes have to choose classes that start from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The list mostly contained classes during those hours.
Nearly 200 courses in 16 academic departments and programs offered during the 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. time slots were left off the list.
We all know athletes get special treatment at school. In the grand scheme of all the benefits (proper and improper), this barely registers. You don’t need a list to figure out that a course called “Social Dances of North America I” that’s described as an “introduction to the partner dances found in American popular culture: waltz, swing, tango, club two step, cha cha, merengue, and salsa” is going to be an easy A. Everybody at college knows the joke courses and easy instructors. I mean, doesn’t exist because sophomores want to find academically rigorous classes.
The courses on the list are offered to all students at Stanford. Nobody should feel guilty about taking them. If they were that easy, the school shouldn’t have them on the register in the first place. Not every class can be molecular thermodynamics.
In order to get an undergraduate degree, students are required to take four quarters of humanities, one class in applied sciences, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences and various classes in ethical reasoning, American cultures and gender studies. A dance class is probably a nice break from the grind.
The director of the Athletic Academic Resource Center claims the list was merely an advising guide. That statement has been refuted by athletes, one of whom said that he grabbed the list from the door of the resource center and walked out without speaking to anyone. “I never used it before this year,” Ryan Sudeck, a junior crew team member told the newspaper. “But this quarter it was like, ‘Oh, I need an easy class to boost my GPA.’”
That easy class will still be there next year. In all likelihood, so will the list. Unofficially, of course.

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