Current Views Of Univerity Sport And Its Athlete

1681 words - 7 pages

Present views of university sport and its athlete's academic achievements are usually negative. The media constantly presents us with the stereotypical image of the "dumb jock"(Funk, 1991, p.14) , and society buys into it. Although society generally views university sport as having a negative effect on the academic performance of student athletes, studies done in Canada and the United States show the exact opposite. Participation of university students in sport has a positive effect on the level of their academic achievements.Although student athletes have to deal with a full academic course load, plus their commitment to practices and competition, their participation in varsity sport provides them with the mindset and skills that will help them to succeed in their academics and in a career. Participation in sport at a varsity level requires an athlete to possess many attributes such as dedication, determination, competitive nature, teamwork, and leadership. Macionis and Gerber (2003) believe that through participation in sports, an athlete gains "physical training, a reasonably safe way to let off steam, a way of developing social friendships, teamwork skills, a drive towards accomplishment, and a love of competition."(p.22). Funk (1991) also points out that University athletics provide, fitness, good sportsmanship, leadership, self-discipline and teamwork. Through participation in sport a student is able to take their mind off of their school and relieve stress. "...psychological benefits reported have typically included reduction in anxiety and depression as well as increases in percepts of psychological well being." (McAuley & Rowney, 1990, p.4) However if the student does not participate in any sport they may become too stressed or turn to more destructive ways of relieving their stress such as drinking or just ignoring school work all together."As athletes progressed through school they demonstrated higher levels of achievement orientation." (Chu, 1989, p.68) Sage (1970) points out that when a student participates in sport at a varsity level, they require a certain internal drive which pushes them to be competitive and to strive to perform at their highest level. An athlete will not only have this drive on the playing field but it will also carry into their academic endeavors. This will allow them to perform better academically and their competitive nature will give the student athlete an edge over other students, which they compete against academically.This is supported by Curtis and McTeer (1990). In the book, Psychology and the Sociology of Sport the authors examine two Canadian universities, Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier. In their study they compare the "graduation average, graduation on schedule or not and the grade average" (Curtis & McTeer, 1990, p. 177) of student athletes who played football, hockey and basketball to those of non athletes. To make sure that the results of the study directly reflected the student's...

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