Jay Harris, a three-star recruit, supposedly has turned down a scholarship from Michigan State in order to pursue his rap career. By itself, it's rather irrelevant, much like the football player who opted for modeling over football. Rap can be a young man's game. Jay Harris may be making a very logical decision, for all we know, that his chances in rap right now are better than his chances at the NFL three or four years from now.
(photo via Lou Rabito of Philly.com)
But it's the response of Michigan State that most concerns me. Philly.com is reporting that Michigan State turned Jay Harris down once his explicit rap videos came to light. Perhaps it's Michigan State trying not to look like Harris dropped them. But perhaps it's MSU blackballing Harris for his videos. And that should truly concern those of us who care at all about the legitimacy of college sports.
College sports has always portrayed itself as the great educator of young men who otherwise would be trapped in some sort of urban maelstrom. Plenty of young athletes have used drugs or spoken harshly of everyone who isn't a heterosexual male. One wonders if MSU would be turning down Mr. Harris if instead he was a lacrosse player who uploaded Youtube vids of he and his friends being high and had hardcore porn on his Tumblr. Michigan State is showing that college sports isn't about education, it's about suppression. Slap your athletes around enough so that their harsher side is hidden. Teach them to keep the groupies behind closed doors and the drugs carried on non-athletes. That appears to be more the true mission of college sports.
Yes, I'm on a soapbox, but I'm more surprised that no one else is with me. To the best of my knowledge, Jay is only 18. Don't confuse this with the controversies of various pro athletes in their late 20's releasing rap albums. Michigan State did not employ Jay when he made the videos. It seems to me that MSU is refusing to educate Jay Harris, and that reflects more on MSU than on Jay.