Did you know that Marcus Mariota's fall schedule consists of only golf and yoga?
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota will be pretty focused on football this fall. His final 2 courses for credit this fall? Golf & yoga.— Ted Miller (@TedMillerRK) July 26, 2014
Predictably, that sat off a firestorm from people mocking Mariota, Oregon's academic standards, the concept of a student athlete, etc. Miller clearly got the point, so the next tweet should have put an end to that.
Some took Marcus Mariota course load this fall the wrong way: He’s done with his General Science major. So he stays in school w/electives.— Ted Miller (@TedMillerRK) July 28, 2014
Which, again, set off people mocking "general science" as another in the long line of majors, such as general studies or sociology, that many athletic departments stick academically underqualified student athletes in to keep them eligible.
In this case, I have a little personal history with UO's general science major. My wife, a high school chemistry teacher, is a UO general science alumna. All those nights of her studying for test in human anatomy and organic chemistry and calculus sure didn't seem like academic fluff. Let's take a look at the Oregon majors catalog and see just what the requirements for a general science degree are:
Calculus I and Calculus II
Look, I had two majors and a minor at UO, and that's further in math than I ever got.
Select two three-course combinations from the following; two sequences must include labs.
Anthropology -- Biological Anthropology and evolution
General Biology (+labs)
General Chemistry (+labs)
General Physics (+labs)
32 credits of approved upper-division science courses (for a complete list of approved courses see the General Science Program website gensci.uoregon.edu/general-science-checksheet)
These courses are in the field above plus anatomy/physiology, math, and psychology.
You can peruse those if you so desire.
The general science exists for careers and graduate programs that require a wide breadth of science. Oregon doesn't have a pre-med program, so many students interested in medical school will take general science and load up on the chemistry, biology, and anatomy. My wife wanted to be a high school science teacher, where a wide breadth of knowledge is required.
Of course, there are many academic problems within college athletics. There isn't enough outrage over the number of student athletes who aren't given a real education. My point also isn't to idolize Mariota, whom I don't profess to know and have only spoken with on a few occasions in a media capacity.
My point is that Mariota earned a legitimate degree, and did so in three years. He fulfilled the 'student' end of being a student athlete. If he wants to take two PE classes to remain enrolled in his last term before entering the NFL Draft, so be it.
We should speak out over lackadaisical academic expectations for student athletes. But lets save it for the fifth year sociology majors who will leave their football programs without degrees, rather than the guy who has already earned one.