College Sports and Academics
Division I college Football has never had a negative connotation. It is a stepping stone and training ground for athletes wanting to challenge their limits, improve themselves, and ultimately become professionals. This is true for almost all college sports. Becoming a pro athlete may not always be the goal, “As in life, [sport] is really about competition, teamwork, and succeeding-or failing-after a worthy struggle,” as sportswriter John Feinstein says. After reading “The Contradictions of Big-Time College Sports” by D. Stanley Eitzen, one has to rethink the benefits of college sports to a University, where academics are always supposed to come first. Eitzen believes, “NCAA Division I athletic programs threaten to compromise the educational missions of the universities that maintain them.” College sports are too valuable to be cut, downgraded, or underfunded as he is implying. I think the NCAA needs major reform in its organization and to find a middle ground in which college sports lose this negative connotation of compromising education and allows them to retain their positive qualities. To find the positive qualities in D. Eitzen’s article, one has to search relatively hard because the article is very much one-sided. Eitzen made evident that the term “student athlete” at colleges and universities with big time athletic programs does not apply at all, and that they are really athletes first and students second. The coaches encourage their students to take courses that are easy and do not present much of a challenge, or recommend professors who have no problem on taking it easy with them because of their high profile sport, such as football and basketball. This leaves more time for the coaches demands towards excellence to be met. In addition to “practices, meetings, travel, studying videotapes and playbooks athletes are required to lift weights and engage in other forms of conditioning as well as ‘informal’ practices during...
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