College Guide


February 21, 2013 1:13 PM Heisman Winner Takes All Online Courses

By Daniel Luzer


Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o may have had a fake girlfriend, but at least he was a real college student. The winner of the 2012 Heisman Trophy, however, Texas A & M’s Johnny Manziel (right), is taking no courses on campus this semester.

The Star-Telegram reports that:

“Regardless of how long I’m at A&M … I’m going to enjoy the time that I do have and go out and try to win every game,” Manziel said during a Monday news conference at the Fort Worth Club….
For now, Manziel is focused on preparing for spring football drills, which open March 2, and an academic schedule that includes four online classes in sports management that do not require him to be on campus every day. Manziel, 20, said he switched to the all-online approach after his presence caused a stir in an English class when the spring semester began.

Obviously a Heisman winner causes “a stir” on campus. I’m sure it’s challenging to show up anywhere once you become famous, but it’s not impossible to take real courses. The other 75 Heisman winners managed to continue to take classes on campus, despite their fame.

If he’s not taking any classes on campus, and he’s there only “enjoy the time that I do have and go out and try to win every game” in what sense is he really a student at A & M?

The Star-Telegram also reports that Manziel’s all online schedule gives him time to attend high-profile events like the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, and NBA All-Star Weekend. Right, because attending high-profile events is really important for a college student. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 21, 2013 4:05 PM: academic schedule that includes four online classes in sports management that do not require him to be on campus every day.

    Well, at least these aren't courses in Turf Science...

    Yeah, that's my liberal snobbery. But seriously, this doesn't help the colleges argue that these are legitimate "student" athletes and colleges are just using the convenience of higher ed to funnel talent into a billion-dollar sports entertainment industry.

    In any event, this online set up will help him complete his degree requirements if he does intend to finish his degree. Be that as it may...

  • Ben on February 21, 2013 10:14 PM:

    Who gives a damn if he takes online courses? They take just as much discipline as sitting in the classroom. I should know. I got my MA with mostly online classes, and not from University of Phoenix, either. Maybe you should go back to college since your article's title makes it seem like a trophy is taking classes. Maybe you meant "Heisman Trophy winner," eh?

  • Bob M on February 21, 2013 11:10 PM:

    I've taught online for 17 years and all-online for 6 years now and you should give a damn about them, for the opportunities for cheating are limitless, all the more so if there is a public motivation for the administration to look the other way.

    Not saying that is the case, but that the system should take care to look accountable as well as be accountable in the case of trophy athletes.

  • Ben on February 22, 2013 12:59 AM:

    Bob: So you say that the chances for cheating are higher with online classes, therefore the university should monitor athletes more closely? Why single them out over any other student? And if online classes are such a cheat-a-fest, then why don't you have a problem drawing a paycheck from them? You give off a vibe that online classes aren't as good as the classroom version, so I find your attitude puzzling considering they are the source of your income.

  • Perspecticus on February 22, 2013 6:42 AM:

    Ben, naming the institution you received your online Master's from would be far more helpful to people reading your perspective than simply naming the institution from which you did not receive your online degree.

  • Ben on February 22, 2013 7:43 AM:

    Webster University. The program required constant reading, participation, quizzes/exams, papers, and projects. I didn't find there to be more opportunities for cheating. I did find that my university charged more for online courses than classroom ones.

  • ceilidth on February 22, 2013 8:49 AM:

    It's long past time for Division I colleges that want a football or a basketball team to stop pretending the team members are just regular students. What they really are are fulltime employees who are expected to work for free and attend school at the same time. Give them a scholarship that can be used at any time--and that is good for four years--but also pay them a salary. They can choose to go to school concurrent with being on the team or they can use the scholarship later--or never.

    These are young men who put their bodies on the line every week in hopes that they will be able to make it to the professional leagues. Most will not be good enough to turn professional or they will be injured and the professional teams won't want them. They deserve actual salaries while they are working for the universities they often only pretend to attend as students. Then we can stop the charade that is big time college athletics.