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Wisconsin football coach Chryst jokes that if he can get college degree, players can too


MADISON, Wisconsin — Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst joked Wednesday that if he can get a college degree, it's not too much to ask of his players.

"I got a degree from Wisconsin. It's not like you have to be a rocket scientist," Chryst told hundreds of business leaders during a meeting of the state chamber of commerce, where speakers also included Gov. Scott Walker, who went to college at Marquette University but didn't graduate.

Chryst was hired after the abrupt departure of Gary Andersen, who said in interviews that the school's tough admissions standards made it difficult for him to recruit players. Chryst, who played quarterback for the Badgers, graduated with a political science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1988, and said he emphasizes the importance of getting an education with his players.

"I've been asked this quite a bit, about the high standards academically," Chryst said in his 7-minute speech. "I think that's one of the things that separates Wisconsin from a lot of places. ... Everything we do in the program is to help them get a meaningful degree."

Chryst, a Madison native, also earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of West Virginia.

Walker didn't reference Chryst's comments when he took the stage moments later. The Republican governor, who is taking steps toward running for president, attended Marquette for three years but dropped out in the spring of 1990 after getting a job with the American Red Cross. Walker also studied political science.

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