Honors College Thesis
Advisor: Professor David Smith
Sports are a huge part of American people’s lives. Americans spend over $100 billion annually on sports. This expense is the fourth highest in the United States, with only our defense, education systems and health getting more. Through these numbers, it is evident that sports have a big impact on the culture of American life and influence far beyond the playing field. A sport provides its athletes with many benefits. Not only can sports provide athletes with popularity, authority and money, sports can also provide athletes with a sense of internal achievement and success (Andre & James, 1991). Guttman notes that once athletes are finished being recruited, they often tend to focus on their athletic pursuits, instead of their academic ones. Although many questions have been raised about the ethics of recruiting someone who is well below the requested levels, some defend the coaches in saying that, “We may not make a university student out of him, but if we can teach him to read and write, maybe he can work at the post office rather than as a garbage man when he gets through his athletic career (Guttman, 26.)” Many consider athletics to be intrinisically educational. In addition, others believe that it works well as a character builder. Participation in athletics has helped athletes learn loyalty, teamwork and how to perform in pressure situations, etc. One interesting thing that was noted by Simon was that in some cases, “education can be viewed as an obstacle the athletic program must overcome to keep its players eligible (Simon, 53.)”
The goal of the NCAA, as declared in the NCAA Manual is to “initiate, stimulate, and improve intercollegiate athletic programs for student-athletes and develop educational leadership, physical fitness,
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