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Should College Admission for Sports Still be Used?

  1. (a) I believe that doing away with special admissions for athletes is not practical. College athletics attracts fans and brings in revenue to the schools. Let’s be honest, most college athletes are recruited for sports, not academics. To help satisfy the colleges’ push for academics over athletic performance, the NCAA has implemented the term “student-athlete” as a replacement for the terms “players” and “athletes” in their rules and interpretations. (Farrey, T. (2008))  The talent from top-tier schools like Florida, Alabama, and Texas would be severely impacted, as most of the athletes would not meet the regular admissions criteria. Many recruits are from poor inner-city areas with poor academics. Getting recruited for athletics is their only opportunity to get into these elite schools. Small schools that do not have resources for academic scholarships or school that do not have big athletic programs would benefit the most from doing away with special admission and athletic scholarships. It would level the playing field, forcing colleges to pick players from the regularly admitted talent pool.
  1. I think the culture of sports has changed with the promise of financial aid and special athletic acceptances into college. College sports are a multimillion-dollar industry. With so much at stake, particularly football, there is likely to be scandal and corruption. “The amount of aid made available to NCAA athletes … has risen considerably.” (Farrey, T. (2008)) I believe that the majority of students love their school and their athletic teams. It is poorer, non-student athletes from a lower socioeconomic status would think athletic scholarships are unfair. Why are athletes getting paid to play at a school that they would not have even gotten into without their athletic talent? It could be argued that student-athletes are getting both an academic and financial free pass, they the poor non-athletic students are racking up debt with student loans. Both of these issues can lead to resentment and give sport-athletes a negative connotation. Given that, I would agree with Farrey that the promise of financial aid and college acceptance for student-athletes can hurt the culture of sports.
  1. (a) College sports are a compatible and necessary aspect of higher education because colleges champion the idea of a “well-rounded student who can study and pursue athletes”. (Rubin, L. M., & Rosser, V. J. (2014)) Sports can help teach life lessons, while academic lessons help build students’ intellect. To help ensure that academics remain at the student-athletes’ forefront, schools should follow NCAA’s principle that “participation should be motivated primarily by education”. (Staurowsky, E. J. (2011)) College sports also provide a sense of unity and camaraderie within a school. This is not only essential while the students are in school, but provides a much more likely chance that alumni will continue to go to games or put money into their alma mater.

(b) However, I really do think that college sports are just not all that compatible with higher education because college sports have become such a high-stakes multimillion-dollar industry and student-athlete are often financially exploited. Student-athletes are under lots of pressure to maintain their GPAs in order to keep their athletic scholarships. The average NCAA athlete during the sports season “spends 39 hours a week on academics – and 33 hours a week on sports” leaving little time for a social life. (Holland, K., & Schoen, J. W. (2014, November 14)) Without the athletic scholarship, most student-athletes would not be able to afford tuition to the elite school that offered a special admission into. In addition, academic administrators see sports as a distraction from the “educational mission of colleges”. (Rubin, L. M., & Rosser, V. J. (2014)) For these reasons, I do not think that athletics and academics are aligned.

  1. (a/b) The issue of athletic compensation has been a debate for years. I do not believe that student-athletes are exploited. If the primary reason for going to college is for an education, then I believe that student-athletes are adequately compensated. It is the student’s choice to be in college rather than going straight into professional sports. With their commitment, student-athletes receive a scholarship that covers tuition, food and housing in turn for their sports participation – that is a lot of guaranteed funding. In college sports, there’s really only 2 programs that produce big revenues for the schools, football and basketball. That revenue pays for all of the other programs that drain the funds with athletes that also received scholarships.

(c) I believe college athletic programs should provide some additional compensation for student-athletes. The academic scholarship does not cover miscellaneous expenses and the commitment to the sports program does not allow the opportunity for a part-time job. The alternative of offering stipends for revenue-producing athletes are still challenged by determining the value of the players. (Staurowsky, E. J. (2011))

(d) If student athletes were paid similar to their potential earnings in the free market, there would be a huge impact on college football and intercollegiate athletics. Schools will need to raise funds for the “pay-for-play” athletes. The average value of a football player is estimated at $121,048 and a men’s basketball player at $265,027.20. (Staurowsky, E. J. (2011)) Ticket sales for the biggest revenue generating sports, football and basketball, would likely go up, and other sports programs would be at risk of getting cut. As a result, college sports would turn into the NFL and NBA minor leagues that they have been historically labeled for, but just with pay.

  1. Student-athletes are typically driven by performance and accomplishments. Given that, athletic scholarships are a good extrinsic motivator. However, studies show that athletic scholarships also “cause feelings of pressure and guilt” as student-athletes feel compelled to perform well for the school that recruited them for their athletic talent. As a result, their intrinsic motivators are weakened. (Rubin, L. M., & Rosser, V. J. (2014))  Intrinsic motivation is related to the internal drive of an individual. If athletes no longer had the fear of losing their scholarship due to lack of performance or poor academics, they could freely be motivated intrinsically because they are doing it for their own satisfaction rather than holding onto a scholarship. I believe athletic scholarships should be protected when an athlete is injured, which will help maintain the extrinsic motivation.
  1. I think collegiate sports were intended to be an amateur sport. The NCAA’s official view on athlete compensation states, “Student-athletes shall be amateurs in an intercollegiate sport, and their participation should be motivated primarily by education. (Staurowsky, E. J. (2011)) However, with the grant-in-aid system of scholarships, money was now going through the university before reaching the athletes. Once the amateur athlete received “any kind of payment, directly or indirectly, for athletics participation”, they became a professional athlete. (Staurowsky, E. J. (2011)) Athletes are no longer just getting scholarship money to go to university and play sports, they are now getting paid through the university itself. This gives the sensation of professionalism. Athletes are getting paid from their school for playing for their teams. I think this will continue to occur, pushing college athletics much closer to professionalism.
  1. (a) I think that this “arms race” is not ethical. Money coming in should not just be put into men’s basketball and football. This causes other men’s sports and women’s sports to lose funding and could potentially put an end to the sport at the university. “ NCAA research shows that of every three new dollars going into college athletic programs over the last five years, two go to men’s sports and only one to women’s sports.” (Lopiano, D. A. (2001, June 11))  I think this is unacceptable. Money should be split evenly between men and women, and between men’s sports, should not be solely put into football and basketball. Some schools have even let this arms race go as far as putting it thousands of dollars towards new facilities or travel fees that have caused other non-Olympic sports to no longer have teams at the university.

(b) Spending is intercollegiate athletics is out of control, especially regarding football and basketball coaches’ salaries. Basketball coaches at NCAA Division I schools earn “$1 million or more per year”. (Lopiano, D. A. (2001, June 11)) There are many other programs with talented coaches at universities, Unfortunately, only the mega revenue-generating sports like football and basketball rack in these salaries. Another example is updating facilities, which is necessary for the success of the team and the university, but not at the extent that this arms race has done. For example, “following a season in which a football team won seven games, the head coach treated his entire staff and their wives to a trip to the Bahamas.” (Lopiano, D. A. (2001, June 11)) The money spent on this trip to the Bahamas could have been put towards having updated facilities, salaries, scholarships, or travel fees, rather than paying for coaches’ vacations. Another university “spent $300,000 putting lights on a practice football field that was never used for football practice. The football coach wanted to show his recruits how many practice fields had lights. In his four years at the institution, he never used the field.” ((Lopiano, D. A. (2001, June 11)) How was this expense even approved? Division I universities should focus on spending their money more appropriately and dividing it between all men’s and women’s teams.




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