Your basic claim – that graduation rates are far below the rates of other students – is correct. The fact that BYU’s rate is 12% should raise a red flag about these statistics, and sure enough, the graduation rate is based on “how many enrollees get a degree in 4 years?” As you know, a large portion of BYU’s student body, players included, go on mission trips mid-school. This means it takes the typical BYU student 6-7 years to graduate. Also, almost all schools have “redshirt” programs, where students stay on campus for 5 years (but only use 4 years of eligibility). Dr. Richard Walton was such a guy; even though he graduated, went to medical school and became a doctor, he counted against Texas’ total. Also: Transfers away from the school, and those who go on to the NFL and return later for a degree, do not count towards this total. So these statistics are essentially meaningless as far as how many players actually get college degrees; BYU in particular is unfairly punished due to the religious beliefs of its student body.
That’s also a different claim than what Flowers was making (whom I was addressing). Flowers actually has a point about paying players; even at a $50k-per-year institution like USC, the amount of money a football player produces for the school is completely out of whack with what he receives with a mere scholarship. We certainly don’t want to return to the days of the 1980’s where players went off to the highest bidder (the saga of Eric Dickerson comes to mind), but the current rules – e.g., preventing players from even holding legitimate part-time jobs during the school year – are beyond bizarre. That part of Flowers’ comments I wholeheartedly support.
Flowers takes that a step further; he’s also saying that universities are actively preventing students from getting an education.
Football programs provide students an opportunity to get a college degree who otherwise never would have a chance. Sometimes they come from inner-city and outer-country districts so poor and so backwards they never have a chance; however, they get tutoring and remedial support out the wazoo to try and help them catch up as much as they can. Others never have an interest.
I bring up the example of Richard Walton not because he’s the exception that proves the rule, but rather because he is typical: Most college football players, even at football factories, will not go on to pro careers. And at schools that aren’t big-time programs (the majority), the degree they get will be all they have. They know this going into those programs; their abilities are a ticket to getting a degree, not to NFL monies$#@!$#@. The only thing exceptional about Walton is that he was a starter at the most demanding position on the field, in a big-time football program, and pursued medicine, one of the most academically demanding fields.
According to your statistics, Walton didn’t get a degree, and according to Flowers’ hypothesis, he doesn’t even exist.