In America's unending effort to make the life of a college football player easier than that of an oil sheik's cat, schools are now giving players college credit simply for being on the team.

The Washington Post just found out that 11 of the AP's Top 25 give credit for playing football, including Florida State, Nebraska and Ohio State. Buckeyes can repeat the course up to five times and earn up to 10 credits.

Some schools even give grades. At Kansas State last spring, 84 of the 91 players got A's from the "instructor"--coach Bill Snyder--who is probably the only teacher in the faculty lounge making more than $1 million a year.

None of the schools I contacted would give me much information on the football class, nor the requirements to pass it--until I came across the friendly folks at ShoeDeal State, who sent me the course syllabus.

FOOTBALL 101

Instructor: Coach Charlie (Chaw) Sweetzer.

Instructor Office Hours: Instructor is available at the office most days, unless I'm at Whispers Gentlemen's Club. Or over at Turquoise's apartment. Last resort, see if I'm at home.

Instructor's Supervisor: It's that damn backstabbing NCAA compliance geek, Mr. Rule Boy, the little guy with the cardigan and the bow tie. Like to see him take the 5:15 right in the back someday.

Course Objective: Each student will be involved in a semesterlong group project, which is to whomp on the rest of these Wonderbra-wearing teams, go about 12--0, get us that big ugly crystal ball, then knock on the front door of the Chi Omega sorority with that bad boy. See if that doesn't impress Kimberly Sue.

Required Reading: The roll-up zone, the stunt blitz, and you better damn well know if that nickel is cheating up on the weak side. Oh, and if you lose the playbook, I won't make you work the tackling sled, you'll be the tackling sled.

Subject Matter: Each student will finish the class with a commanding expertise in many disciplines.

Week 1: The Alibi and You

Week 2: Making the Most of Your Mug Shot

Week 3: The Language of Boosters For instance, when a booster says, "Son, I'd like you to be my accounting intern next summer," what he means is, "Son, the only counting you're going to be doing is Benjies in a FedEx envelope."

Week 4: Party Smarty For instance, a student always needs to know how far the drop is from the bathroom window to the garden.

Week 5: Math seminar When I say, "Make two lines," I don't want a bunch of head scratching. After that, the only damn subject I want to talk about is you jokers getting enough wins to get me into Augusta National.

Points System: Against Notre Dame? I'd take us and the points. But that's just me.

Grades: The instructor gets an $800,000 bonus if he graduates 50% of his players any year, so if you think I'm flunking you, you're crazier than a glue-sniffing wombat. I grade on the curb: All you have to do is drive up in your Escalade and I'll give you your A through the window.

Grading Scale:

100%--11%.... A

10%--4%........ B

3%................ C

2%--1%......... D

0%................ D-

Extra Credit: Students can earn extra credit by a) mentioning Reebok in any interview; b) making that rich-boy Vanderbilt QB cough up his spleen; c) rewriting my résumé before those snoops at the Tribune find out about it.

Demerits: Students will earn demerits for going anywhere near my 17-year-old daughter, Luleen. (Don't think you won't end up in a Hefty bag.) And for talking to that nosy little bastard from thesmokinggun.com, who won't let this damn paternity thing of mine go.

Makeup Exams: Students can make up any exam they want. Or they can take mine. It's patterned after Jim Harrick's basketball tests at Georgia last year. Sample questions: 1) The chinstrap goes where? 2) Which quarter comes first? 3) True or false: There's no wrong answer.

Lab: Each student will be required to participate in the recruiting lab. Thanks to those dumb-asses at Colorado, our labs aren't going to be like they used to be. Right now, we're down to one midnight Bible-study session a month. And even then, Mr. Rule Boy eighty-sixed my idea for A Return to Gomorrah.

Attendance Policy: Tardiness will result in you running about 1,000 stadium steps, followed by you revisiting your last three meals plus a Moon Pie you ate in ninth grade.

Tutoring: As usual, the lovely Silver Bells hostess group will be available for students' needs anytime between midnight and six.

How do you think I met Turquoise?

If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to reilly@siletters.com

Eleven of the AP's Top 25 give credit for playing football, including Florida State, Nebraska and Ohio State.

COLOR PHOTOPETER READ MILLER

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