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Blaming Colleges for Low Wonderlic Scores?

We already know players and the NFL don't really take the Wonderlic test seriously, but someone seriously missed the point of the test when they chose to blame colleges for failing to prepare these "student athletes."


I feel like we could make fun of the Wonderlic test and how ridiculous it is every year. I think we do, which is about the only thing I agree with this article about regarding the Wonderlic.

In case that sentence made you shudder enough to not want to click to read the article, it's a column by Fox Sports' Jen Floyd Engel about how we should blame, yes, the universities for letting these college-turned-NFL football players down.

It is true the cost of college education has skyrocketed to a point where a degree has diminishing returns ... It is also true guys like Austin and Tennessee wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (Wonderlic: 11) and Justin Hunter (Wonderlic: 12) obviously did not get $200,000 of education. Granted, the test is wrongheaded and has almost nothing to do with one's ability to succeed in the NFL, but a college-educated man should be able to score better than that.

I'll admit, I can't disagree with the point that a college-educated student should be able to score better (to be fair, 50 questions in 12 minutes is a pretty rough affair, regardless of the actual question difficulty - you still need to read and accurately take in the questions).

But as is everything with the combine, it's more than the final number - it's how you got there. In this case, how quickly can you process what you see and react/find the right answer - or, to apply to football, how fast can you read a defense or offense and prepare yourself accordingly.

You would think that a columnist-since-1997 would be able to make that distinction, especially when it comes to questions that, with no time limit, a middle-schooler should be able to handle. For example, college didn't teach me how to multiply twenty-one cents times four. It didn't teach me how to identify two exact same sequences of letters. It didn't teach me 0.33 is smaller than 0.8. (Then they throw you a fun curveball with Q10 - let me know if you beat 40 seconds on that one.)

There are a lot of things to blame for low Wonderlic scores - I'd list probably the player and his attitude towards it first:

As Cowboys first-round draft pick Morris Claiborne (Wonderlic: 4) noted a year ago: "I came to the combine for football. I looked at the test, and wasn't any questions about football. I didn't see no point in the test. I'm not in school anymore. I didn't complete it."

The college that player went to is not one of those things.

To spin this to the Bears, if Tavon Austin, Alec Ogletree, or whomever fall to the Bears and they take him, I won't care one iota what his Wonderlic was.