Former Syracuse basketball player Carmelo Anthony, who led the Orange to the 2003 national title, was a part-time student while on campus.
His chosen field was basketball, but Melo still saw his way to attending a few classes during his lone season in college.
Do you care how Melo performed in those classes? I care as much as I care how professors performed in their pickup basketball games while in school.
But for those of you wondering, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wrote in his new book:
Carmelo did his work, went to class and never gave us any trouble. He made four Cs and a D in his first semester, and if anyone wants to roll his eyes at that, plenty of freshmen who aren’t carrying a basketball team on their back do a lot worse. But we couldn’t put him in for the Wooden Award because his grades weren’t good enough. Nevertheless, this much is certain: No college basketball player in America was better than freshman Carmelo Anthony over the course of the 2002-03 season.”
“The point I was trying to make, and maybe did not succeed in, was that I was impressed with how he did as a first-semester freshman,” Boeheim said, adding that he had previously spoken to Anthony about mentioning his grades in the book.
“We had talked about this before, but I’ll call him again to explain what I was getting at,” Boeheim said. “I wanted to try to make clear that he did do his work, and that he was engaged as a college student.”
Boeheim probably didn’t make his point well, but I got it. I wouldn’t have blamed Melo for blowing off classes entirely. He was a basketball player moonlighting as a traditional student for a few hours each week. Academics weren’t his focus, which is totally understandable considering his vast earning power came through basketball. The more effort he put in on the court – even at the expense of in the classroom – the more financial security he’d gain. It was a wise tradeoff.
But – and Boeheim should have realized this before broadcasting Melo’s grades to the world – it will probably get taken differently. Many will just see Melo’s grades and feel superior. Congratulations to those folks.
More troubling, Boeheim‘s apparent disregard for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which states:
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record.
There are a few exceptions, but none of them include trying to boost book sales.
Did Boeheim violate federal law? Probably.
Will he face any consequence? Probably not.
Melo’s right to privacy is diminished. He’s a very famous and successful basketball player.