In the beginning of last month, University of Texas President William Powers Jr. publicly bemoaned the top ten percent admission rule and the effects it was having on his university. Calling it a “crisis,” Powers demanded that the state legislature rescind the rule or the university would have to pay the ultimate price: they eventually wouldn’t be able to have a football team.
You see, the problem that the University of Texas was having is that too many smart people wanted to attend classes there. Under the law, students graduating from Texas high schools in the top ten percent of their classes are automatically granted admission to Texas public universities. Last year, 81% of UT freshmen were admitted under the rule. According to the university, if the numbers keep going like they are, that figure will reach 100% between 2013 and 2015. Since most athletes don’t graduate in the top ten percent of their classes, there would be no more Longhorn football.
Frankly, it seems to me that UT President Powers and the legislators who all too eagerly work to rescind the law to a much weaker version have missed the point. Yes, football is a key part of a great college experience and it is very much woven into the fabric of what it means to be a Texan. But to limit the enrollment of smarter students so that we can admit the less academically qualified athletes is asinine.
Universities are, by design, institutes of higher education. We come here, pay way too much for textbooks and parking permits, and toil away in an attempt to grow our minds so that we can contribute to society. While many things, like sports, fraternities, and social circles add flavor to our experience here, the meat of it is the things that we learn.
One of the most ironically humorous parts about this is the people pressing against the rule. People like Senator Florence Shapiro of Plano who wrote the bill to gut the ten percent rule and most of the support are very staunch Republicans. Think about it. They want to pass a law so that less qualified students can be admitted over highly qualified ones. That’s called affirmative action. I guess the GOP isn’t opposed to it when the person can score a touchdown, instead of increase diversity.
Call me crazy, but with America repeatedly ranking among third world nations in regards to our education level, it doesn’t seem that lots of smart people wanting to attend one of the flagship universities in our state is too awful of a problem to have. Our economy is rapidly going down the toilet and innovation stands to be the only saving grace of this nation. We need to focus on taking the best of the best, have their minds sharpened by some of the greatest professors around, and send them out to fill the jobs, start the companies, and save this country.
Of course, we don’t have to do that. I’m sure watching football will be that much more entertaining when we enter the second Great Depression.