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The Athletic Advantage In A College Education

1029 words - 4 pages

Attending college is not only a chance to further one’s education; but an opportunity to experience lessons in life. One of the hardest lessons to learn is how life is not always fair. Students who work diligently to achieve academic success can realize all too soon how countless hours of studying to achieve the grade, may not pay off as much as the ability to kick a football fifty yards. It appears the ability of the student athlete to contribute to a winning season is valued much more than the ability of the academic student to graduate with honors. Evidence suggests that students who focus on a college education geared toward academics are not rewarded with the same advantages, resources, and fringe benefits that their student athlete counterparts may receive.
College sports are a major revenue producing industry. Athletic programs and their student athletes can achieve National recognition and generate millions of dollars in revenue for the university they attend. Colleges use this revenue to invest in players, pay for their education, and provide state of the art training facilities. These facilities are used to improve the performance of the student athletes. As colleges focus on revenue from athletics, the quality and standards of an undergraduate education begin to diminish. Academic requirements for college athletes are lowered in order to enhance initial eligibility (Gurney). Lower standards produce student athletes who cannot maintain a college curriculum. Universities spend millions of dollars to provide student athletes with “learning specialists” (Wolverton, Kellerman, Molto). These specialists help athletes to meet academic requirements and maintain their eligibility. These private tutors are provided at no cost to them. However, there are many students who do not participate in athletics, who may need the assistance of a tutor. No educational department provides “learning specialists” for these academic students. These students would be forced to ask for additional instruction from their teacher or pay for a private tutor out of pocket. This preferential treatment poses numerous problems in the way student athletes are treated and perceived by faculty and fellow students (Jensen). Nevertheless, for those who believe these athletes are treated unfairly or biased, there are equally as many who believe they are given special privileges that are biased and undeserved.
Student athletes and their supporters argue that student-athletes should obtain certain advantages because of the heavy burdens and demands placed on them by the university (Jensen). They believe that student athletes have to work twice as hard as other students to achieve similar academic success. There is no question that participation in an extracurricular activity such as athletics can be a beneficial and rewarding experience. Student athletes believe that lifelong personal and professional relationships can be established through athletic...

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