The purpose of college is two-fold. First it must provide a furthering of the basic education which we all received from a public or private school system, while also giving the pupil a concentrated dosage of specialized training in a field or disci pline which the student will pursue upon graduation. Secondly, college must serve as a preparatory stage for young adults who are about to enter a world unknown to most of them, an environment in which they themselves will be their sole providers. Both of these purposes seem to be absent in Joe Blair's college life.
It is my impression that Mr. Blair believed his sole purpose for attending the University of Arizona was to play basketball. I blame the university and Lute Olson for not setting Mr. Blair straight on this "misconception." Although I have empathy towar ds Mr. Blair's current plight, and please do not confuse empathy with sympathy, I praise the Arizona Board of Regents for their actions in this matter. I chastise Hernando Silos and all those who feel that Mr. Blair has been improperly treated during this course of events. His talents as a basketball player are a means for allowing him to get a college education, a right which all to often is unaffordable to many high school graduates.
The university is not here to act as a channel through which Mr. Blair can pass to the NBA, or any other professional sports league. The purpose of this university is to meet the twofold requirement, as mentioned previously, of college in general. Altho ugh being an athlete places certain additional challenges upon the student, it is not a matter of dire hardship for this student to maintain a 2.0 GPA. To interpret this in a way that is more familiar to most students: Mr. Blair simply needed to get str aight Cs each semester. Or put another way: three Cs, a D and a B. Still another way: two Ds, two Bs and a C. All three scenarios would have produced a GPA equal to 2.0. It isn't that difficult. Lest the readers of this newspaper think that I am bei ng too hard on Mr. Blair, or "not putting myself in his shoes," let me briefly explain my situation. I am not a student-athlete, but I do work two jobs (about 45 hrs/wk) and go to school full time (16 units this semester.) I still manage to maintain a 3.6 GPA. How? By making certain sacrifices today so that my tomorrows will be less worrisome.
There are a great many activities that I would like to participate in, both on and off campus, but my schedule simply doesn't permit it. Why do I have to work so much? Because I have to pay for my own tuition, books, supplies, food, rent, utilities, tra nsportation, insurance, medical costs and a host of other bills. If I had Mr. Blair's scholarship I could probably quit one of my jobs and then spend more time pursuing campus activities or studies. I would even have time to tutor Mr. Blair in some of h is courses. So to all of those who feel that Mr. Blair should fall under a different set of rules and standards than the rest of us, think again.
I am happy to hear that Mr. Blair has made certain contributions to the community (kudos to you Mr. Blair), but Mr. Solis is sorely mistaken if he feels that this is justification for being soft on, or bending the rules, or making an exception for, Mr. Bl air. I only hope that the Board of Regents will not cave in to such cheap antics as those of Mr. Solis, and will uphold the integrity of this university and its mission.
By Kevin E. Fincher