At Illinois, No Jock Left BehindS

Here is stately Wayne Manor The Irwin Academic Services Center at the University of Illinois. Here, Illini students can use computer labs and classrooms, schedule sessions with tutors and special counselors, and even relax in oversize leather chairs and gaze at expensive oriental rugs. Wait … you’re not an athlete? You’re just a regular student? Get the %$#! out of the expensive Irwin Academic Services Center, Poindexter. (Kicks student out front door; throws book bag after him). And stay out!

The Irwin Center, you see, is for athletes only; the $6 million facility is not to be wasted on nerds. And Illinois is not the only campus that has them. There are also such facilities at Michigan, Louisiana State and Texas A&M, the latter which cost $27 million.

Some are not amused.

"These athletic tutoring palaces perpetuate resentment and stereotyping on campus," said Allen Sack, a University of New Haven professor who played football for the University of Notre Dame and has become a critic of what he sees as the corrosive effect of sports on university life.

"A student who is not an athlete will say: 'I'm working nights to get through school, why don't I get free tutoring?' " Sack said. "That the athletes do perpetuates the image of a dumb jock who couldn't get through school without special help."

The universities say that these centers only cost a fraction of the revenue their athletic teams generate. And they help preapre athletes for life after sports.

Debby Roberts, a learning specialist at the Irwin Center, said she counsels Illini athletes to use their college years to develop their non-athletic potential. "It's a daily battle," Roberts said. "They all want to think they're going to turn pro."

Yes, a major university has "learning specialists." Look, your book has words and pictures inside! Did you know that? No, you don't eat them ...

$6 Million Center Tutors Jocks Only [Chicago Tribune]
The University Of Illinois Center For Athletes Who Can’t Read Good And Want To Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too [Deuce Of Davenport]