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Why College Sports?

Andy Lyons / Staff

Many times the culture of collegiate sports is questioned. There are many aspects of the collegiate sports experience that put immense strain on student athletes, both physically and mentally. However, being part of an organized collegiate sports team is one of the most rewarding experiences for those involved. So we ask the questions: why college sports? What makes student athletes pursue a collegiate athletic career?

Throughout the country, there are three main organizations that give student athletes the opportunity to pursue a career in collegiate sports. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Each serves a different purpose and gives student athletes the ability to receive an education while continuing to participate in the sport they love. Although there are many criticisms of collegiate athletics organizations, the benefits of participating in collegiate sports put student athletes in a position to succeed no matter which path they decide to choose.

There are many criticisms on the time demands required of student athletes in comparison to what they receive. However, the collegiate sports model was not designed to be a form of professional sports. There is an emphasis on the student aspect of student athlete and therefore the reason monetary compensation is not given to athletes is because they are part of a team in order to open opportunities for them academically, as well as athletically.

The reason monetary compensation is not given to athletes is because they are part of a team in order to open opportunities for them academically, as well as athletically.

As a student athlete that participates in NCAA sports, I can say that there are many time demands that require student athletes to be very organized and goal oriented. But how can we say that honing organizational skills is a bad thing? Collegiate sports teach student athletes more than how to compete at an elite level, but also how to perfect their transferable skills that can be applied to all facets of their lives.

Collegiate sports teach student athletes more than how to compete at an elite level, but also how to perfect their transferable skills that can be applied to all facets of their lives.

So again, we ask, why college sports?

Well, I will tell you why. Those who are involved in a sport to the level that prepares them to compete collegiately have a passion for the sport that cannot be lost easily. Student athletes are given the opportunity to continue learning and growing in their sport, while experiencing a one-of-a-kind sense of teamwork and belonging that teaches them how to grow and develop themselves into successful, intelligent, adept individuals. There are endless opportunities for student athletes, including traveling to new places, meeting various professionals in many fields, and graduating from high level colleges and universities in their choice of field of study. We can accomplish all of this while continuing to pursue the sport we fell in love with as children.

In an economic climate where holding a college degree gives you an advantage in the work force, it is important for students to be able to attain those degrees. Unfortunately, some are not fortunate enough to have the financial means for that education, but are just as willing to learn, and just as deserving as those who can. Collegiate sports give many talented, young, student athletes the opportunity to prove that they are more than just an athlete. For example, according to the NCAA, student athletes that participate in NCAA sports graduate at a rate of 88%. Considering there are over 500,000 student athletes in the NCAA alone, that number is incredibly high. Grades for student athletes also tend to be higher than general student bodies because there are minimum requirements in order to hold eligibility. Student athletes are not just athletes. They are students first.

There are so many benefits of being a student athlete, and I can say, whole-heartedly, that the experience of being involved in organized collegiate athletics changes each and every person involved for the better.


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