It’s called the “Player Assessment Tool”. It’s the new test that the NFL will begin using at this years player combine to evaluate players coming into the league who might not be up to snuff scholastically. It will be used along side the Wonderlich, an intelligence test that’s been used since the 70’s. The PAT is considered to be more “fair” and contain less “cultural biased” than the time-tested Wonderlich.
Cyrus Mehri, an attorney who champions the use of the test, says: “This kind of levels the playing field from a socio-economic point of view”. In other words, it will provide data on the proficiencies of a bunch of guys who never should have been allowed to graduate from college in the first place. The very existence of the PAT proves that the idea of football players actually getting an education is bunk.
Mehri told USA Today Sports, “"A lot of guys may be very intelligent, but are not as book-smart as others. Someone may not be the best reader, but they can still be very smart in picking up things."
Not the best reader? Is this guy nuts? Are basic reading skills not a requirement to enter college, much less to graduate? Has the very concept of college athletics broken down to the point that players are leaving universities without the basic skills to answer questions that the average sixth grader shouldn’t struggle with?
Let’s take a look at a few questions from the presumably “biased” Wonderlich test. These can be found at ESPN’s “Page 2” site:
When rope is selling at $.10 a foot, how many feet can you buy for sixty cents?
A boy is 17 years old and his sister is twice as old. When the boy is 23 years old, what will be the age of his sister?
5. RESENT / RESERVE • Do these words
1. have similar meanings, 2. have contradictory meanings, 3. mean neither the same nor opposite?
Look at the row of numbers below. What number should come next?
8, 4, 2, 1, ½, ¼
These questions are ridiculously easy. Any adult with half of a functioning brain should be able to breeze through them. The Wonderlich isn’t exactly the bar exam. It’s not even the SAT. It’s a very simple, very basic evaluation of lower-lever mathematic and language abilities that also provides some insight into an individual’s ability to reason. The only thing the Wonderlich is biased against is utter stupidity.
If football players are allowed to graduate without the skills to ace the Wonderlich should we not question the entire system? Is it unfair to expect men of all socio-economic backgrounds to be able to multiply six by ten? Shouldn’t players be offended by the notion that they need a test that has been scientifically dumbed down for them?
It’s asinine. But defenders of the test claim that it reaches for the player’s “core intelligence”. THESE ARE COLLEGE GRADUATES. Are our schools moving jocks along and giving them passing grades based on “core intellect” or are they expecting them to learn stuff?
Some folks will think that this article is unfair. I strongly contend that it’s unfair not to hold young athletes to the same standards that other students are held to and that’s it’s unconscionable to allow them to graduate without basic skills. Football careers are fleeting. The value of education can not be understated. That the NFL feels it needs the PAT demonstrates that not all college athletes receive an education. Players are entering the league having come from schools that placed no expectations on them to learn.
College football is a joke. Only a handful of schools expect players to perform like actual students in the classroom. Those that do are considered to be at a competitive disadvantage to those who don’t. Why even bother with the university charade? The NFL might as well just create a minor league and allow kids to drop out of school and hop right in.
The goal of the PAT is to provide NFL teams with a mechanism for discovering how well a prospective player might be able to absorb the kind of learning he will need to do within a system – how well he can pick up the playbook. The test is basically an admission by teams that, unless the guy is a quarterback, they don’t really care how stupid he is just so long as he can play football. That’s fine. The NFL is a business and the players are only workers. But the idea that these players received a college education is simply laughable.