Lundquist: Don't Talk To Me About "Student-Athletes"

There could be legitimate reasons against an eight-team playoff, but pulling students out of class isn't one of them, Verne Lundquist says

The DA Show
December 05, 2018 - 11:57 am

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The College Football Playoff was a much-needed addition to the sport, but now that we have it, many people – including iconic broadcaster Verne Lundquist – want more.

“Yes, somehow I’m going to live long enough to get the University of Central Florida, with an undefeated season, into the playoff,” Lundquist said on The DA Show. “That’s my life’s mission. They’ve won 25 in a row now. It seems like if you’re not on the inside, you don’t have a chance. That’s been demonstrated again and again – now twice in a row. I think there should be room.”

Lundquist’s longtime broadcast partner, Gary Danielson, felt the four best teams in the country this year were Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame.

“Well, then you leave guys out like Ohio State. You would have left out Oklahoma,” Lundquist said. “What’s wrong with going to eight? I’m not smart enough to know what the finances are or the control issues, but they’ve got to go to eight. And don’t talk to me about student-athletes and we can’t take them away from their classes. Bull-dash. They take them away from their classes all the time. So I'm one of those who thinks you got to go to eight. I guess I’ll be happy with eight – but it’s got to come.”

DA agreed that the “We can’t take guys away from their classes” line is a ridiculous excuse, especially in an era of conference championships and expanded playoffs.

“Those of us who were around college athletics – it’s a big-time business,” Lundquist said. “Big time. I’ve said many times over the years that on occasion, I’ve been known to hold my nose during a telecast because the insistence that they all be called student-athletes drives me over the edge. Most of them are. And I think this: Any kid who has the aptitude for a college education has no excuse – no excuse – for not graduating with a degree because you are helped and coddled and advised and sent down certain curriculum paths. There’s no reason that you can’t get a degree. The guys that drive me nuts are the guys who paid lip service to it.”

Lundquist is especially skeptical of one-and-done college basketball players.

“They finish their first semester of classes, they’re guided through them, and then they say, ‘Okay, I’m one-and-done, I’m going to the NBA,’” Lundquist said. “I would love to see class attendance for their itineraries. I’ll guarantee you four percent of them are actually pursuing degrees.”