The increase of college sports in American colleges has led to development of a controversy; this controversy is mainly based on the effect that the college sports has had on college education. It has led to wide debates on what is more important in college: sports or education. The improvement of college sports has meant that some colleges in America have gained worldwide fame and this has led to sports having more importance than education in some colleges. The prioritization of sports over education has led to widespread outcry among the education technocrats; they argue that education needs priority over sports in colleges. Their argument is mainly because college sports have negatively affected the activities of colleges on the educational front. College sports means that students have to miss some classes to perfect their sport performance as the colleges highly value sports; they argue that this leads to erosion of the value of education in colleges. The colleges also come to a standstill during the time of real games when educational activities of colleges are paralyzed. They also argue that colleges invest more in sport activities instead of channeling more funds to educational aspects of a college. Indeed funding of college sports runs into millions of dollars such as the University of Maryland that had deficits of up to 5 million dollars. The channeling of funds to sports has led to an increment in college tuition fee.
However, college sports have many benefits and should hold importance in college education. Those in favor of college sport argue that many benefits it holds cannot be ignored but instead it should be integrated into the education system without having any adverse effects on the education system of colleges. College sports have many benefits; various athletes from college have earned a living out of the activities that they engaged in. The most famous names in the NBA and NFL were once college students and it is from the college sports that they were able to make a living. College sports also nurture leadership as success depends on good leadership. People like Carmen Cozza, the Yale University Football coach, have inspired many people and students due to his great leadership. College sports also bring people together and enhance town unity. Through the growth of lifelong affiliations, unwavering alumni support is created. The popularity associated with college sports also acts as a tool for advertising the college and hence increasing the number of applications. Butler University Basketball team that lost to Duke in the national championship made its college famous, which led to increased applications for admission into the college.
One of the undisputed benefits of engaging in sports in higher learning institutions is its ability to unite the students and the school faculty; it tends to break the barrier between different age groups, backgrounds and cultures as they interact with each other. Apart from the unifying factors, sport enhances an environment where students can release the stress and pressure of daily learning as they get to take part in rigorous exercises that engage their mental senses and enhance their physical image.
Leadership, teamwork and communication are some of the useful skills a student gets to learn off the class. Sport is an added advantage while applying for many jobs and can even be used as a booster in their applications; different organizations highly value students involved in extracurricular activities. Other students get lucky enough to get sponsorships from different schools due to their performance in sports and end up gaining life long careers and better lives. Due to the closely built connections, athletes are mostly sure of getting jobs after graduation regardless of whether they played frequently or not. The networking and the bonds created by the athletes create opportunities that otherwise would have normally been paid dearly to get. While playing for colleges, good players can be noticed and it is the simplest way of selling the students` talent. Some of these institutions have flexible educational systems that can allow both studies and sports to run simultaneously. This enables students to keep up with the school’s curriculum and their studies.
Through different sponsored traveling opportunities, students get to taste different cultures and interact widely. This is not only widening their networking circles but gives them more learning experience as they interact and hone their skills in a more personal level. Institutions cater for students who show exceptional talent in sports; this is an advantage for unprivileged students, since they can get into institutions, which would be impossible without sport.
The sponsorships offer non-residential students fully paid fees and accommodation and this in turn helps them concentrate more on their studies and designated sports. The professional coaches and qualified staff offer valuable lessons and guidance to students as they train. This keeps them focused and still offers them a platform to highlight their unique talents. Through the games played scouts can spot and choose players from the college to play at the professional level; this will raise the popularity of the institution and the coach’s profile. Sport success rate of an institution and a number of professional players who studied at that institutions increase the number of students` applications. Therefore, sport directly affects the status of an institution depending on the way it is used.
On the other hand, sport interferes greatly with the studies of a student as it can take a considerable amount of their time. It disrupts their learning process requiring a lot of sacrifice on their part to catch up on their studies. The constant traveling to different games tends to shift their focus from their education to sport. Frequent and exhausting exercises make students tired and so they will not be dedicated to their schoolwork. The coaches’ constant demand for regular exercises can cause the student to lose interest in sport and this can lead to problems like doping in institutions of learning. Some students, after reviewing the history of an institution and its sport success, apply to this institution with hope to become star athletes. They might end up wasting their time since not all of them will realize this pipe dream; students may choose one institution due to its sport success over others that would have provided much better and cheaper education for their academic needs.
There has been a raised concern by education experts about the growing failure of most institutions to meet the required NCAA rules, since those institutions prioritize sports over education. Long hours spent in practice sessions and traveling do not provide students with enough time to keep up with their academic learning, and most of these students usually end up having average or poor educational performance. The NCAA has set up strict laws that cushion the athlete students against not getting proper education; it is important to note that the most highly affected are the teams in the division 1 institutions that have an average score of over 600
The momentum gained by the recent demand for college football games airing on local television plays a great deal in the degradation of the educational system. Since the public prefers to watch a quality game, the management of different institutions has shifted their priorities to focus more on the sport development than the educational aspect. For example, their annual budget is allocated to advertisements, athletes, coaches and the upgrading of the school sport facility and not to improve the learning institution. Media channels like ESPN, NBC and CBS are greatly capitalizing on the marketing and airing of the college games; the media exposure tends to bring out the aspect of the overpaid coaches and the strain it leaves on students financially as they have to dig deeper into their pockets to cater for the increased tuition fees. Even as state allocates funds, they often end up misused, resulting in overall decline in the institutions` education; it clearly outlines the struggle between education and sport.
The film and entertainment industries, over the years have over-rated the college sport by constantly making movies and documentaries on the history of sport and athletes. Due to this, a false picture about higher learning institutions is provided and many students join these institutions with unrealistic expectations. Brands are also moving in to make profit through using the institutions to advertise their brands. Large endorsements that come with contract signings might be overwhelming for young students to handle, making them forget their main reason of being there; most of them end up abandoning their education in pursuit of the short-lived fame.
Based on both discussed divergent views one can easily see that it is true that educational institutions need a constant check to keep and re-affirm their stands and commitment to provision of quality education to students. However, there are more advantages of college sport than disadvantage; it is a clear sign that if a balance is established then disadvantages can get ironed out and both the institution and students will benefit in the end.
About the Author
Luna Griffin is a specialist in English literature at the Orlando University and longtime work as a writer at https://writer-elite.com – essay writing services that provide all students with any types of written assignments in all disciplines. She always wanted to become a writer and publish a book that will become a new contribution to the literature. She started career as an English Tutor after which she started to show interest in child psychology research. She is currently working on a variety of topics related to studying the state of modern education.