Like most major universities, the University of Georgia had a problem. Its student-athletes weren't attending class, and weren't faring well in school. Sounds familiar, right? Yes, but UGA wasn't content raking in the dough on the football field and nothing more. Student-athletes would never miss a practice, and the school wanted to find a way to make sure they feel the same way about attending class. So they came up with a novel new idea - student-athletes were fined $10 per unexcused absence.
Silly, you say? $10 may seem like a pittance to you and I (ok, maybe just you), but for a college student it's at least a meal. And you know what, UGA's plan worked.
More than 50 percent of UGA's student-athletes had a GPA of 3.0 or better for the first time this past spring semester. And while dropped classes went down, credits earned went up! 770 credit hours were earned last spring, while 954 were earned this time around. During a three week period in January, there student-athletes missed 46 classes, a 90 percent drop from the 421 over a like-period last September.
Kudos must be given to UGA for coming up with a proactive solution to this major problem in college athletics. Especially in the major sports, it really seem that nobody cares about academics. It's gotten to the point where it's become a running joke. No matter how many feel-good ads the NCAA runs, it won't change it. But measures like UGA's can. It instills an integrity to the process that is needed. $10 may be a drop in the bucket once the star WR turns pro, but until then, it still gets his attention.
"It's exactly what we want," Evans said. "We want our individuals going to class and getting a quality education."
"For some students, it's the one thing though that stops them from missing more appointments."