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A Couple Of Study Hall Links, 12-28-11

It's bowl preview week at the mothership, and it's kicking my butt, so I've been once again neglecting Study Hall. It ends soon -- I just need to survive through Monday -- and we'll be back on schedule with 2011 as 1981 posts, etc., but until then, here are a couple more interesting links, plus an epic self-share.

Fun Studies

  • Miller-McCune: College Football Wins Lower Guys' GPA

    According to three University of Oregon economists, when a university’s football team has a winning season, the grade point average of male students goes down.

    At least, that was the case at their own school over the course of nine recent seasons. Given that the University of Oregon is "largely representative of other four-year public institutions," they have no reason to believe the equation won’t apply elsewhere. [...]

    These findings are particularly troubling given that "men have fallen further and further behind women in college attendance and completion over the past 30 years," the researchers write. They note that, at the University of Oregon, men earn an average GPA of 2.94, compared to 3.12 for women.

    "We have verified that this gap cannot be explained by ability upon entry (to the university), as measured by high school GPAs and SAT scores," they add. Rather, there seems to be something in the university environment that pulls boys away from academics.

    While that phenomenon is undoubtedly multifaceted, this research suggests a winning football team worsens the problem. Victories on the field may bring universities money and prestige, but producing less-well-educated students is a high price to pay for a trophy.

History

  • Columbia Tribune: Missouri, North Carolina among first schools to embrace the pass

    With North Carolina lined up to punt deep it its own territory and cries of "Block that kick" reportedly ringing from the crowd of 1,500, punter Joel Whitaker Jr. panicked under pressure and pitched the watermelon-shaped ball to an open teammate in the right flat. The receiver, Heisman wrote in Collier’s Magazine, caught the illegal pass and raced 70 yards for the only score of the game.

    Bulldogs Coach Pop Warner stormed onto the field in protest, but the unwitting referee allowed the play to stand.

    "I had seen the first forward pass in football," wrote Heisman, who later became immortalized as the namesake of college football’s most prestigious trophy.

    It was the throw that saved the sport — and a play that provides an obscure century-old tie between North Carolina and Missouri.

    The two schools, who will meet today in Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl, were on the vanguard of a football revolution: UNC as a forbearer of the forward pass and MU as one of the first programs to embrace the innovation when it was legalized in 1906.

    The Tigers, perhaps to keep up with their pioneering in-state rivals to the east — Saint Louis University’s Bradbury Robinson is widely credited with throwing the first forward pass — embraced the new way to spread the field.

    Game accounts from the Tribune in 1906 regularly noted Missouri’s tosses, including in a 23-4 victory over Kirksville, which the Des Moines Daily News said featured "probably the first use of the long forward pass." By 1908, Tigers Coach W.C. Monilaw wrote in Baseball Magazine that Missouri‘s "forward-passes were more successful than those of any other team in the West or Southwest."

    The nation was moving forward, and so was the sport that would become its pastime.