Clarett: Colleges Force Athletes To Take "Nonsense Classes"

Colleges don't care about educating student-athletes, Maurice Clarett said; they care about keeping them eligible

Taz and the Moose
October 11, 2018 - 10:37 am

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Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss his life, career, and newfound purpose: helping young people avoid some of the mistakes he made.

One of Clarett’s most important causes? Ensuring that student-athletes get a quality education.

“I think that is one of the biggest jokes, Clarett said on Taz & The Moose. “(Colleges) purposefully miseducate these guys for the purpose of staying eligible. You get classes like African-American Studies and Family Planning and Officiating Golf and Officiating Softball and all of these things. They keep you eligible to generate revenue, but when it’s time for you to be done and it’s time for you to go back to your hometown, you don’t have anything of value to bring back to either the kids, your community or even to your family. A lot of times what happens is that subsequently ends in some sort of substance abuse or some sort of alcohol abuse because you just can’t mentally adjust to your life being turned upside down.”

Clarett, 34, has seen it firsthand.

“I can look at old teammates from Ohio State, I can look at guys who reach out to me through the internet, and guys feel like they put so much into something, and there’s this fictitious belief that they'll always be taken care of,” Clarett said. “But the underlying narrative is you have very smart people who get together and they say ‘Hey, we’re going to make these guys believe they’re (getting a quality education).’ These guys are miseducated – and I care more about that than anything.”

Clarett isn’t afraid to share his message with current student-athletes, either. 

“When you take these nonsense classes, it does nothing,” he said. “I was down in LSU, and this was when Leonard Fournette was down there. I asked Les Miles (a question). I learned in prison, they would always say, ‘You can’t un-see things and you can’t un-hear.’ I said, ‘Les, would you put your kids – your personal kids – in the same class that you put your star athletes in?’ The look on his face was dumbfounded. Even though I said it, he couldn’t kick me off this stage. ‘What am I going to kick this kid off the stage for? For telling me the truth?’ But I told the athletes, go to your position coach and go show them (your) schedule and ask them would they pay for their kids to take these classes.”

The answer, Clarett said, would likely be no.

“That will tell you right there this does nothing,” Clarett explained. “This keeps you eligible. Before we talk about paying (players) and all this other stuff, at least let’s get the normal thing down. Let’s get the educational piece down. If these guys can’t take these courses, (it’s a problem).”

Many student-athletes are also first-generation college students. Thus, they – and their families – do not know what a typical college course load should look like.

“All mommy and daddy and uncle know is that my kid has a degree from a university and he’s made it out the ghetto,” Clarett said. “Yeah, that’s not enough. We have to get to the point where we’re appropriately academically educating these kids and pushing these kids to be something more than just athletes.”