On March 31, The Big Ten Conference announced its list of student/athletes awarded Big Ten all-academic honors for winter sports.
My favorite college basketball player, Iowa’s Matt Gatens, was one of 36 Big Ten basketball players honored, and one of only eight sophomores to make the list (players are eligible for the award only after completing three semesters, a rule that effectively disqualifies freshmen).
Unlike other Big Ten schools, the University Of Iowa did not issue a press release marking the honor, a shameful oversight since Gatens is the best player on the Iowa squad as well as a genuine student/athlete—and a genuine student/athlete taking serious coursework, a rare enough occurrence in the realm of college basketball.
The failure of the Iowa coach and the Iowa Athletic Director to take public notice of the achievement of the team’s finest player and finest scholar is yet one more sign that the basketball program in Iowa City is in utter disarray. Iowa basketball has become a low-class affair administered by down-market morons.
Gatens was one of only two Hawkeyes awarded Big Ten all-academic honors (the other was reserve Devan Bawinkle).
Purdue and Wisconsin led the conference in placing six players each on the all-academic list—and Purdue was particularly impressive, because the six Purdue players receiving academic honors included the team’s star players as well as others that enjoyed significant playing time.
Indiana and Northwestern each had four players on the honors list. Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State each placed three players on the list. Illinois and Michigan each had two.
Minnesota came dead last, with one player receiving academic honors. This is not surprising, since Minnesota basketball has not interacted with academic achievement since at least the 1960’s. I had hoped that Tubby Smith might change that situation, but apparently it is not happening.
In any case . . . if his own coach and his own Athletic Director will not give a shout-out to Matt . . . at least I will.