Usually I’m not one to pick up and read the newspaper. My schedule just doesn’t allow for time to wearily pick up the latest edition of the newspaper and read the repetitive, mind-numbing dribble that it is composed of. However, this past weekend, one article did catch my eye.
The article was titled “How Big-time Sports Ate College Life” and was written by Laura Pappano of the New York Times. Being an 18 year old high school senior that is in the midst of making the most important decision of my young life, where I will be attending college, naturally I picked up the article and began reading.
I was astounded by the contents the article contained. According to the New York Times, a random polling of college students at 25 different division one universities suggested that almost 60 percent of college freshman picked their university based on the success of their major athletic programs (football and basketball.) To me, that’s insanity.
I like sports just as much as the next guy, but making your college choice solely based on a school’s athletic success is asinine. It’s setting yourself up for failure almost instantly.
America, as a whole, has their priorities severely backwards. We pay professional athletes through ticket sales, merchandise sales, and advertisement fees through lucrative salaries, but yet somehow we don’t have enough money to properly fund our public school system or the NASA space program. Seems a little odd, doesn’t it?
Student-athletes are in college not to entertain us, but to earn an education. In my opinion, university budgets should list all necessities of education on a priority list. All donations, aid, and tuition should go towards fulfilling those obligations to the students first, and afterwards, any additional funds may go towards sports.
This would put a bigger emphasis on education and meeting the most important needs of the students paying to attend universities. Focusing on sports at a University during a recession is like a starving family deciding to go without food to buy the newest gaming console. There is nothing wrong with having fun, but there is a certain way you must prioritize things in life.
However, this will never happen. Why, you ask? Because collegiate athletics is the main source of income for several major universities across the nation. Without their football program, Ohio State University would not have the revenue and endowment it currently has today.
I’m definitely not saying collegiate athletics is the downfall of college academic standards, because they aren’t. Like most things in life, everything is good in moderation. Universities should not be about athletics, division I sports and competition bring a special experience to college students.
Division I athletics offer a sense of unity and special bonding experiences among students that can last a lifetime. But like I said earlier, do NOT make your college decision SOLEY based upon athletics. Take it into account, but ultimately your decision should be made on academics.