Is He Good Enough for D1?

That was a question that someone asked at Saturday's meet. It wasn't about Chandler Teigen who had just broken the course record for the third year in a row, but about his brother, Chase.

The question irritated me and it took a few minutes to understand why. We'll get to that in just a sec.

First, for those who didn't have the pleasure of watching Chase Teigen, the young man ran in the front, battling for the lead. He also, as with his brother now, did it with an old-fashioned graciousness. His times were good, very good in fact, but not the kind of times that garner full-ride scholarships at Pac-12 schools.

Now he's up at WSU, studying (last I heard) mechanical engineering. It's a tough major. He still runs - his freshman year he walked on with the cross country team before a tender knee parked him for a bit. I don't know if he still runs with the team. I do know that he's advancing in his field of study - my daughter was a teammate of Chase's and is studying electrical engineering at Idaho, eight miles away. The two of them swap messages occasionally. I ask for updates because I like seeing people succeed and Chase is doing that.

And that is where my annoyance came in.

The question, "Is he good enough for D1?" places exactly the wrong emphasis on high school athletics. It's that same thinking that led North Carolina into the minefield of academic fraud that still explodes with new articles of no-show classes and fake papers.

The athletes are supposed to be student-athletes and the student part should always, always come first.

Chase probably could have gone on to be a scholarship athlete at the D1 level - but maybe not in a power conference like the Pac-12, but somewhere. He might not have been the star of the team, but he would have been a solid contributor and a great teammate (and don't underestimate the latter!)

If he had, studying for a challenging major such as ME might have been discouraged, because the twin demands of athletics and study would have been too much. I remember Miles Plumlee, a Duke basketball player, started studying mechanical engineering, only to change majors in his sophomore year. Very few athletes can handle the additional time demands.

So was Chase good enough for D1? Yeah, he is, where it counts - in the classroom.