Declining by degrees looks at the college experience and how students, especially in big universities, have begun to cheat the system. In a large university many courses, especially entry level general education courses, are lectures with over 150 students. In a classroom setting with that many students and one professor, there are always going to be students who inevitably fall through the cracks because they do not feel engaged in their learning and they know the professor has almost no way of knowing whether or not they even show up to class. On top of not knowing, man professors that teach courses like these simply don’t care about the individual student so it doesn’t matter to them if they are there or not. In spite of the lack of interest, and in many cases, lack of mastery of the material, students are simply passed along because state funded universities get more funding if they graduate more students. For these reasons, I am very glad that I chose a small university such as Lenoir Rhyne because even in the most basic introduction courses such as FYE, there are only maybe twenty five students per class. All of my professors know me personally and notice when I do not attend their classes or when my work does not match my academic potential. The personal relationships built at small schools are priceless during the education process but also after graduation when it comes time to attain recommendation letters and references for job opportunities. While there are pros and cons of both large and small universities, I think that personally a small university was the best fit for me for the reasons mentioned above.
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League of Denial
League of Denial is a novel written by two brothers who are both investigative reporters for ESPN. Mark Fainaru-Wada was co author of the new York times best selling book Game of Shadows which broke the news and never before seen documents relating to Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroid scandal in major league baseball. Steve Fainaru is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist for his coverage of the war in Iraq. League of Denial is about how the NFL has handled the mounting concussion crisis in the league today, and how they have tried to cover it up for over a decade leading to the demise of former NFL greats such as Mike Webster and Junior Seau. The NFL created its own research board which did flawed research on concussions, released false reports in medical journals, and did its best to completely discredit any doctor who said that football caused brain damage. One of these discredited doctors is Dr. Omalu who performed the autopsy on Steelers legend Mike Webster. Due to the tremendous amount of force generated on each and every snap in the NFL between the offensive and defensive line, head injuries are almost inevitable. Each collision in the trenches is said to create the same amount of force as running a mid sized car into a brick wall at a speed of 35 MPH. Despite these astonishing numbers the NFL still stated that frequent NFL players did not receive frequent blows to the head (Tagliabue). This type of clear neglect from the NFL in the past is what has landed them in hot legal water today. NFL Veterans formed a class action suit against the league with an original price tag of 2 Billion Dollars, The NFL ended upv paying out over 700 million plus all legal fees, but as an understanding, still neglected any form of liability and was not required to reveal what they knew and when they knew it. This novel does a great job of exposing the scandal on a very public forum, but this issue is still a developing and hot button issue in sports today.
Why Football Changed
I still think that football is the greatest sport in the world, however I do not enjoy it as much as i did in high school. The transition from being a game that we play for fun and that we were playing with a group of friends from our childhoods in high school, to being a pure business in college. Once you become a college athlete, you realize that the purpose of playing changes drastically. up until this point I have always played football because I loved playing, now I play because it allows me to go to school for a reasonable price. I think that in a year or two once I am in a position to actually play in the games on Saturday, I will enjoy it again. For now however my whole body hurts on a daily basis and I am still doing my best to adjust. The one thing that I do prefer about college football though are my team mates, especially my fellow freshman class. We all know that at the end of the day we are working towards the same goal, a 3 peat in the South Atlantic Conference, and if we all can stick it out through the transition, that is absolutely a realistic and attainable goal.