A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 10, 2019
Rocks for Jocks (Geology 101, or an easy college science course)

"Rocks for Jocks” is an introductory geology course, one taken by “jocks” (student athletes) that is supposedly easy to get a good grade and keep the students eligible to play sports. “At Cornell, publicity in the Daily Sun ruined a freshman geology course known as ‘Rocks for Jocks,’ which is now unusually tough” was printed in the Greenville (SC) News on December 15, 1967 (taken from Time magazine). “Rocks for Jocks or Lunchtime Lit aren’t in your catalogue” was printed in the Daily Northwestern (Evanston, IL) on September 20, 1972.

“They are carrying huge academic loads, not nine hours of rocks for jocks like most college football players” was printed in the Washington (DC) Star on September 26, 1976. “Those requirements, however, became increasingly flexible starting in the permissive ‘60s, and ‘gut’ courses proliferated. One wildly popular example: an introduction to geology known as ‘Rocks for Jocks’” was printed in Newsweek magazine on May 15, 1978.

“Physics for Poets” is a similar type of college course.


15 December 1967, Greenville (SC) News, “U.S. Universities Still Have Their Share of Crip Courses” (from Time magazine), pg. 30, col. 6:
Rocks for Jocks. (...) At Cornell, publicity in the Daily Sun ruined a freshman geology course known as “Rocks for Jocks,” which is now unusually tough; ...

20 September 1972, Daily Northwestern (Evanston, IL), “Need a course? Try Jock Geology” by Larry Hochberger, pg. 23, col. 1:
Rocks for Jocks or Lunchtime Lit aren’t in your catalogue.

However Geology A02 and English B10, as they are also known, are two of the more popular courses offered to freshmen.

26 September 1976, Washington (DC) Star, “Letters Column,” pg. D-11, cols. 3-4:
They are carrying huge academic loads, not nine hours of rocks for jocks like most college football players.
(...)
M. L. McNamara
Manassas, Va.

15 May 1978, Newsweek (New York, NY), “Harvard’s Hard Core” by Jean Seligmann and Phyllis Malamud, pg. 61, col. 1:
Those requirements, however, became increasingly flexible starting in the permissive ‘60s, and “gut” courses proliferated. One wildly popular example: an introduction to geology known as “Rocks for Jocks.”

3 July 1978, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), “From a Yale feast, only a nibble” by Jonathan Kaufman, pg. A9, col. 4:
But :gut” courses—easy courses that guaranteed a high grade with a minimal amount of work—came to the rescue. Among students, the names of these courses soon became common knowledge: Rocks for Jocks, Volts and Dolts, Wars and Whores.
(...) (Col. 6.—ed.)
Requiring English majors to take “Rocks for Jocks” does not guarantee that they will learn anything by taking it.

Google Books
Language Maven Strikes Again
By William Safire
New York, NY: Doubleday
1990
Pg. 22:
Specific courses were the proverbial Underwater Basketweaving, Rocks for Jocks (or, at Stanford, “Physics for Poets,” an actual course offering), and my favorite, Clapping for Credit ("Introductory Music Appreciation").

Google Books
The Yale Daily News Guide to Succeeding in College
By Shaheena Ahmad
New York, NY: Kaplan Educational Centers: Simon & Schuster
1997
Pg. 69:
Courses like “Rocks for Jocks” (geology for non-majors), “Clapping for Credit” (introductory music), “Physics for Poets,” “Kiddy Chem,” and “Math for Plants” have brightened many a college student’s semester, and, of course, grade point average.

OCLC WorldCat record
A new and exciting Science Education Program pegged for New Orleans ‘98 (or debunking the “rocks-for-jocks” myth)
Author: George Rhoads
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: The Leading Edge, v17 n8 (199808): 1111-1112

Google Books
Science Literacy for the Twenty-First Century
By Stephen Jay Gould, Stephanie Marshall, Judith A. Scheppler and Michael J. Palmisano
Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books
2002
Pg. 308:
The old ethic in liberal arts colleges was to require a one-year science course, usually “rocks for jocks” — the famous Geology 101.

Google Books
Getting Ready for College
By Polly Berent
New York, NY: Random House
2003
Pg. 114:
“You always hear there are these easy courses out there to help raise your grade point average — Rocks for Jocks and Physics for Poets. Don’t waste your time looking.”

Google Books
I Am Charlotte Simmons:
A Novel

By Tom Wolfe
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
2004
Pg. 193:
“That’s what everybody calls that course. That’s French for Jocks. There’s a German class they call Jock Sprache. There’s a geology class they call Rocks for Jocks. There’s a course in the Communications Department they call Vox for Jocks. I never got the Vox part.”

Twitter
Karen Walrond
@Chookooloonks
Really wishing I’d paid more attention in that “rocks for jocks” geology class I took back in college.
2:29 PM - 16 Jan 2008

Urban Dictionary
Rocks for Jocks
Basic geology taught at the college level, presumably without the academic rigor that might otherwise cause athletes to lose their ability to play due to academic disqualification.
“Geology 105 is known as Rocks for Jocks.”
#geology#college#athlete#popular perception#sports
by Chemguy July 10, 2008

OCLC WorldCat record
Geology for dummies
Author: Alecia M Spooner
Publisher: Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Contents: Introduction. Part I: Studying the Earth. Chapter 1: Rocks for Jocks (and Everybody Else).

Google Books
Two Cheers for Higher Education:
Why American Universities Are Stronger Than Ever—And How to Meet the Challenges They Face

By Steven Brint
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
2018
Pg. 407:
“Guts” is the slang name for courses with light workloads, easy grading, or both. Guts include such famous courses in student lore as “animal planet” (conservation biology), “physics for poets” (introductory physics without the math), “rocks for jocks” (introduction to geology), “porn in the morn” (the sociology of sexuality), “heroes for zeroes” (Greek mythology), and even “frozen heroes for sub-zeroes” (Icelandic sagas).

Twitter
2019 gonna be lit
@LEROPER1
Replying to @CharlesPPierce
I bet he took the gut science course Rocks for Jocks (Geology 101) expecting a B for no work and getting an F.
5:00 PM - 8 Feb 2019

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Sunday, February 10, 2019 • Permalink