Colleges find themselves performing a juggling act when it comes to balancing their athletic goals with their academic goals. Athletic programs require that their student-athletes attend every practice, or as many practices as possible, and to perform athletically…
They must quickly develop time-management skills and often have little down time. Student-athletes also have 'a lifestyle that often involves living in a fishbowl-like atmosphere,'" reports Porter (2008) as the author refers to Ender & Wilkie (2000, p. 125).
A problem that many colleges and student-athletes face is one where the athletic program leaders, such as a coach or athletic director, demands that the student skip a class in order to attend practice. However, the class that is in conflict with practice is also required. In other words, the student-athlete finds himself/herself torn between missing a
class or missing practice. It is a case of athletics versus academics and it is not one to be taken lightly as the college sports become more popular, more entertaining, more in demand, and more commercialized. There is a negative impact of college sports on higher education. However, this is not new. Splitt (2007) cites the Chicago Tribune:
[College football] is not a student's game as it once was. It is a highly organized commercial enterprise. The athletes who take part in it have come up through years of training; they are commanded by professional coaches; little if any initiative of ordinary play is left to the player. The great matches are highly profitable enterprises. Sometimes the profits go to finance college sports, sometimes to pay the cost of the sports amphitheater; in some cases the college authorities take a slice for college buildings.
The American culture places sports at its core, especially intercollegiate sports. Splitt (2007) refers to her essay, "Sports America 2005" when she reports that, "It seems that only in sports-obsessed and seemingly complacent America can we find a general public that views sports as super cool while the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEMs) are considered to be nerdy, and where athletes have a definite edge when it comes to college admission and retention--often in "diploma-mill-like" alternative education programs with questionable accreditation." The author compares the culture of the United States to that of China. The country focuses on education, particularly engineering education. Large investments are made in order to
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build schools and to improve university systems. Learning English is another top priority as the Chinese want to learn the language that is used in global business.
American colleges and educational institutions are being sacrificed for the constantly-growing and all-consuming beast called commercialism. "Excessive commercialization has brought academic corruption, financial shenanigans, increasing expenditures on athletics, and money-focused presidents who often view sports programs as an economic necessity and undergraduate education as an expensive nuisance and who have little patience with reform efforts by their faculty," states Splitt (2007).
College sports, for many decades now, have been a target for scandals and commercials. Sack (1998, p.B7) in his article, "Big-Time Athletics vs. Academic Values: It's a Rout" refers to his years playing for the University of Notre Dame in the 1960's. Although sports were already being highly commercialized, universities still saw the importance of student-athletes ...
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