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Michael Oher, The Blind Side, and BYU


maklelan

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I was looking over the Yahoo home page earlier today and saw that one of the most viewed new movie trailers had Sandra Bullock in it. I'm a fan of Sandra Bullock, so I checked it out. It's called The Blind Side (trailer), it comes out in the fall. It's based on a true story about a kid named Michael Oher, who is an "over-sized and underprivileged teenager" who somehow gets into a Christian private school and gets taken in by a rich young couple who helps him to turn his life around and play football, which he loves. I thought the trailer was very touching.

The real Michael Oher was just this year drafted in the first round by Baltimore and signed a five-year $13M contract. I looked him up on the great whore, Wikipedia, and was a little surprised to see Brigham Young University mentioned on the page. Apparently this young man was one of those kids taking correspondence courses through BYU that let him replace horrible grades in high school with college level A's that took 10 days to get from home. I remember hearing about this and how NCAA people thought it was pretty shifty. I have to agree to a large degree.

I read a newspaper article on the issue (here), and one of the comments struck me:

This is what is being taught to our young children - and we wonder why they donâ??t take academics seriously. Why, with a 0.9 GPA, they can get into college. Think about it.

I did think about it. The first time I applied to BYU was from the mission field. I had a 0.27 GPA after getting booted from the University of Northern Colorado for smoking too much pot, drinking too much So-Co, and never going to class (and a run-in with the law). Then I got home and I went to a semester at Collin County Community College (15 hours - 4.0) and did a summer at BYU as a "visiting student." I took Spanish and then tested out of a bunch of classes. I got 19 hours with a 4.0 for that one class over the summer. I applied to BYU again as a transfer student, asking them to only look at my last 30 hours (the adviser told me to). They saw 30 hours and a 4.0 and let me right in. Since then my BYU GPA has been 3.80 (stupid American Heritage). I have no problem at all teaching my young children that they can get in to college even if they had a 0.9 GPA. After all, mine was lower and I'm going to the University of Oxford for my masters degree.

I don't think BYU's "character courses" are active anymore, and they clearly weren't the smartest thing BYU's done for academics, but this kid can provide remarkably well for a family now, so I have no problem with what he did to get there. He and his family are much better off than if he had never gotten to play and ended up flipping burgers for the rest of his life. It's an interesting story, and it looks like a good movie (Tim McGraw seems to like football movies).

What are your thoughts?

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I don't think it matters one way or the other because he's going to hell for playing football on the Sabbath.

:P

But seriously, if he took advantage of an existing system and people hired to sit in judgement of such issues allowed him to pass through, then by all means he is a success story because he navigated the system and played by the rules. If someone doesn't like the system, they should change it and if they don't like the people, they should fire them. If they can't do either, then they shouldn't watch football or perhaps create their own league.

I took several course pass/fail so as not to have to work too hard and yet preserve my GPA. None of those courses had any direct bearing on my degree path other than they were required because someone thought they made a person well rounded.

Kudos to the kid for improving his life.

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What are your thoughts?

Okay I know this is so not what you were thinking for....I swear I'll get to the rest later. But what city are you from? I'm from Allen. I saw QuadC and had to ask.

On to the rest. The BYU thing does seem shady. But as for the rest, it looks like he's made significant improvements in his life....in large part with the change of people in his life to help him navigate the system. I'm glad for him.

With luv,

BD

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Okay I know this is so not what you were thinking for....I swear I'll get to the rest later. But what city are you from? I'm from Allen. I saw QuadC and had to ask.

With luv,

BD

I am in Utah now on my way out of the country, but I lived for several years at Frankford and the Tollway in North Dallas.

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I had a 0.27 GPA after getting booted from the University of Northern Colorado for smoking too much pot, drinking too much So-Co, and never going to class (and a run-in with the law). Then I got home and I went to a semester at Collin County Community College (15 hours - 4.0) and did a summer at BYU as a "visiting student." I took Spanish and then tested out of a bunch of classes. I got 19 hours with a 4.0 for that one class over the summer. I applied to BYU again as a transfer student, asking them to only look at my last 30 hours (the adviser told me to). They saw 30 hours and a 4.0 and let me right in. Since then my BYU GPA has been 3.80 (stupid American Heritage). I have no problem at all teaching my young children that they can get in to college even if they had a 0.9 GPA. After all, mine was lower and I'm going to the University of Oxford for my masters degree.

What are your thoughts?

Wow!!! I am really impressed on what you have done personally with your life. .27! Really?! Wow.

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Wow!!! I am really impressed on what you have done personally with your life. .27! Really?! Wow.

I had a bad GPA only because I wasn't motivated, not because I wasn't smart enough. I joined the church and went on a mission and found motivation, and now I'm doing phenomenally. I don't think anyone's past should keep them from having a future once they get their head screwed on straight.

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What are your thoughts?

I have several thoughts. 1. Your story is very interesting and rather inspirational (although I have to wonder if you would have made it on a mission today--now that the "bar" has been raised.) 2. I've never heard about such a program from BYU. A student could take a correspondence class for 10 days and change a grade on their high school transcript? Can you expound on that? 3. I hope this movie is better than Sandra Bullock's last movie (The Proposal.) I loved "Two Weeks Notice", "Miss Congeniality" and "While you were Sleeping", but this last one fell short.

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I had a bad GPA only because I wasn't motivated, not because I wasn't smart enough. I joined the church and went on a mission and found motivation, and now I'm doing phenomenally. I don't think anyone's past should keep them from having a future once they get their head screwed on straight.

I agree. I just wish someone would tell the Utah State Bar ... ! :P

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