Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Student athletes

It really is a shame how a few student-athletes ruin the reputation of all the other student-athletes. Is it my firm belief that that these particular athletes (I drop the student portion deliberately) generally come from men's basketball and men's football. Could it be because these are the sports that the boosters are so crazy for and will do anything to see succeed? They are coddled, told that they are important, and eventually they believe it. Worse, they come to universities openly bored with the purpose of the university - education. Colleges and universities have become training grounds for professional athletes, which is not desirable for either the universities or the athletes. Here's an idea I have never heard anyone talk about, which is surprising now in retrospect: why don't we get rid of athletic scholarships? What the hell good are they? The defense of athletic scholarships would probably involve some sort of argument like - "you're telling a whole lot of people they can't go to college". But as far as I can see, we're freeing up scholarship money to go to someone who has really worked on their academics in order to get into the university and succeed. And for everyone who says that these programs make money for the university, it's well documented that most don't in fact do so, at least not when you take out the money the university provides, and especially when you consider that most boosters give money to the athletic programs, and not the universities. Further, the argument that they are good advertising for the schools seems odd - they aren't advertisements for the academics, but instead for the worst aspects of college life. I remember hearing one girl at an FSU/Miami game (which FSU was losing, natch) yell "why do I go to this school?" Why indeed. Is it good for us as a country if students are making college choices based on the winning of national championships or bowl games, which almost by definition requires the surrendering of academic integrity? Shouldn't we be lionizing the academic prowess of schools to the degree that we hob the nob of people like Joe Paterno and (long live) Bobby Bowden? Anyway, down with athletic scholarships. If they want to play college football, great. Otherwise, make them create a minor league football system to train their thugs and idiots.

5 Comments:

At 4:45 PM, Blogger romeotheBT said...

Is there really a problem with athletic scholarships or is there a problem with the degree to which we worship sports starts? I disagree with eliminating athletic scholarships only because they add to the University the same way that art and music scholarships do.

The reason that chodes like Garrett Bushong can get away with the things that they do is because people fall at the feet of professional (and semi-professional) athletes. Unfortunately that extends to high profile college athletics.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Ricardo Grande said...

Actually, I disagree - art and music are forms of scholarship that interact with intellectual movements, etc. I think athletic scholarships are a manifestation of how we worship sports stars. Maybe we don't have to get rid of the scholarships though - if they would get rid of preferential admissions, that would go a long way to solving the problem.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger romeotheBT said...

Another question is why are we forcing football and basketball players to even go to college? Professional tennis players aren't forced to go to college. Neither are professional golfers, figure skaters, etc...

The answer is perceptions about the professional game, the love of college football, things like that. But I think it is a little absurd to make these kids sit through two to three years of college they have no interest in because "they aren't ready for the professional game" or some other such nonsense.

 
At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point - all the more reason that there should be a semi-pro league to provide an outlet for these kids.

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger Ricardo Grande said...

Ooops...that last one was me. Sorry 'bout that. :)

 

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