Is it possible that as Lehigh and schools in the PL recruit better basketball players, who maybe were stretched academically to get in (i.e. would maybe not have gotten in except for basketball), kids arrive and don’t like the rigorous academics and want to go on to a bit of an easier college life, where they can mix sports with academics much more easily? For all I know, guys like SW, MS, CR and TS could have been carrying 4.0 averages, I have no idea. But, there doesn’t appear to be anywhere to hide academically at Lehigh (unlike UNC where they make up majors and grades for decades). I would think that has to be a factor, along with playing time. I know showing up when I did, the academics were a bit of a shock after high school, and I wasn’t concentrating on a sport as well. I would have barely been academically eligible early on, without a sport. I think a transfer elsewhere could reduce an academic load, particularly in season, when you have to travel to games, practice constantly and miss classes.
I also wonder about the culture of a school like Lehigh being a fit for a lot of student/athletes. Again, I am guessing totally on this, but I wonder about putting myself in the position of a typical 18 year old high school basketball player travelling to Lehigh. A lot of the time, you will have a young African American kid, travelling a great distance from home, coming to pretty much a lilywhite elite northeastern private school campus. The African American student body is relatively small (to my knowledge) and not a huge presence on campus. I think the non-academic social activities revolve around campus parties in private houses or fraternities, which again are overwhelmingly non-diverse. There may be economic issues as well. I would think that would be a very difficult transition. I think it takes a special, mature kid to be comfortable in that setting. Maybe that is different in a larger, more diverse university.
I’m not trying to make a big social commentary on race or any other social factor by posting this, but perhaps this gets overlooked. We think that this is a great opportunity to get a free education at a Top 40 National University, but there have to be a lot of other factors for these kids. It’s probably not so simple. I can only speak for myself, as a white, upper middle class kid from a suburban NJ town, that it wasn’t really hard to assimilate, as everybody around me was just like me. But, not that way for every kid.