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'Real Sports' interview doesn't tell the whole story of former Oklahoma OL Eric Mensik

Eric Mensik
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Sep 4, 2010; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners offensive tackle Eric Mensik (69) in action against the Utah State Aggies at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma and former offensive lineman Eric Mensik likely are no longer on good terms after Mensik told HBO’s “Real Sports” that he received a “football degree” from the university.

Mensik, who graduated in 2010 and was one of a handful of people interviewed in a story about academics and college athletics, said his degree hasn’t helped him find a stable job.

Of course, coach Bob Stoops took issue with Mensik’s comments and questioned the interview.

“I wouldn’t imagine Eric is the only 25-year-old that doesn’t have the job he wants, right?” Stoops said. “I bet there are quite a few out there that are trying to get a better job. He’s a great young man and I don’t know what all it’s going to be, but I know we’re very proud about how hard we work with our guys.”

"You talk to one guy out of the thousands that have been through here? Gabe Ikard who's just won a scholastic Heisman and who is a multidisciplinary studies (major) and is going to be a doctor when he's finished."

And even though “Real Sports” also spoke with former Oklahoma senior associate athletic director Gerald Gurney, who said it was his job was to push football and basketball players into majors that were “the easiest on campus,” Mensik’s interview didn’t quite tell the whole story.

Mensik was a multidisciplinary studies major, but it wasn’t because Oklahoma pushed him into it, it was because that was the easiest major for him to complete his degree after he flunked a class. Mensik told the Tulsa World that he was in the business program, but failed a class, which put him behind in a course study.

“I was actually in a business program — information systems — which is in the business school. I was taking classes to kind of get into that area,” Mensik told the Tulsa World. “I took an Accounting II class during the football season, which probably wasn't the smartest idea on my behalf. I ended up failing that class and by that time, I want to say ... I can't remember if it was at the end of my sophomore year going into my junior year, but it was getting late to where if I would have had to retake it over, I would have had to stay in school longer and get back on track as far as my graduation would go. I went to the academic office for athletics and they just kind of gave me some options. I ended up choosing multidisciplinary studies. I felt like that is what I wanted to go with.

“It was my choice [to go into multidisciplinary studies]. No one said, 'You have to go here, you can't do this, you have to do this.' It was my choice, taking the option ... given with the type of classes I'd taken to that point, that was the direction that I chose to go.”

Mensik, 25, now works for a commercial insurance company in Missouri City, Texas. Yes, it might not be his dream job, but it’s not exactly digging ditches either.

While the HBO “Real Sports” piece, which was called, "Gaming the System," made some great points about how certain schools try to steer certain athletes into easier majors (and had some poignant and sad interviews), they seemed to miss the mark on pointing the finger at Oklahoma, at least with Mensik as the subject.

Similarly, Mensik was wrong in blaming Oklahoma for his own academic failings.

“At the end of the day, you want to be a finance major and you fail calculus, you’re gonna have to find something else to do,” Stoops said. “That’s just the real world, right??"

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter

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