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Should we privatize big-time college athletics?

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Replies to: Should we privatize big-time college athletics?

  • hops_scouthops_scout Registered User Posts: 3,903 Senior Member
    I used to have a link showing the most major conference athletic programs lost money. IIRC, it was less than 10 schools that made more than $1 million in profit in 2006, even after alumni donations, meanwhile there were over 100 teams in D-I that lost more than $1 million.

    I would have to look for the link as well, but I want to say it was only 19 schools that made a profit. Ohio State is the biggest... they make a pretty solid profit. How often do you hear of athletic departments making a donation of $5 million to a University's library?
  • AMWMIT79AMWMIT79 Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    Here's a link to an interesting article on college sports programs:

    Change Magazine Article(s): Punting our Future: College Athletics and Admissions
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    I think you can buy into the premise of the Change Magazine article only if you're willing to extend it to the fine arts as well. Many people who don't understand why colleges should produce athletes have no problem with them producing ballerinas or mezzo-sopranos, even though the latter are also primarily in school to pursue their crafts, and even though athletics like the performing arts, is an aesthetic art performed for a paying audience. I think there's an element of classism here - participation in athletics offers many benefits for the student-athlete just as participation in dance, music and theatre offers profound benefits, but because the latter are viewed as appealing to a more "high-brow" audience, they're typically not seen as counter to an academic campus culture.
  • shoshishoshi Registered User Posts: 216 Junior Member
    I don't think it works the same way, gadad. Those seeking a conservatory education apply specifically to a conservatory and earn a degree in music performance. There is no degree granted for athletic performance so far as I know. In addition, those seeking entry to colleges who seek to participate in music or art as a minor or EC gain no extra advantage in admissions. In fact, I can't think of any other pursuit that allows a prospective student the same sort of advantage in admissions that athletics conveys. This is unique to the U.S. and it does raise eyebrows in other parts of the world.
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang Registered User Posts: 18,317 Senior Member
    Gadad: "As far as Kyle Singler, I'd guess that his response would be about the same as ones that you'd receive from many students in BFA Theatre programs who are planning on heading for Broadway auditions once they finish their college training."

    Except that the BFA student was admitted to the drama department, studies drama, and gets a degree in drama. He's not spending all his time in the theater but getting a pretend degree in business or something like that. He's honestly studying what will be on his diploma.

    It would be as if Singler were admitted to Duke's Basketball department, took classes in Jump Shots and Free Throws, and then got a degree in Basketball Performance. But we don't have degrees in Basketball, because it's not an academic field of study. And that's why schools should not be operating minor pro franchises with people pretending to be students.
  • AMWMIT79AMWMIT79 Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    I find the article interesting because my daughter was recruited by a NESCAC college and got into another college early action. We decided to have her visit both schools, on our own dollar , in January. After visiting the NESCAC college she remarked that of all the kids she met 1/3 were legacies, 1/3 were URMs and 1/3 were athletes. I just found it interesting that if you don't fall into one of those categories, you don't get in.

    I mentioned this to our local supintendent and he said " ya, there are about 8 spots left for everyone else" for all those thousand of other applicants.

    I don't know whether it's right or wrong. I read "The gatekeepers" when my daughter was in junior high and knew how being good at something -- anything -- could be the tie-breaker in getting her into a good school. She choose to excel at running. I feel like we lucked out because if she had pursued another passion, her chances of being accepted to a good school I now realize would have been diminished. However I really do think that what the schools really want are kids to show that they can stick to something, go through the ups and downs and overcome hurdles along the way. Are sports the only way to show that?

    In some ways, we gamed the system -- but is it the right system?
  • G.P.BurdellG.P.Burdell User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 2,294 Senior Member
    here is no degree granted for athletic performance so far as I know.

    Several schools have degrees in Sports & Leisure studies, which is an interesting way to handle the situation. Students are taught how to keep score, manage a team, coach and encourage children, etc.

    The bigger difference is cost. Conservatories don't cost nearly as much as an athletics department, and don't give anywhere near the number of scholarships. As a result, I wouldn't be surprised if most conservatories broke even or even made a little bit for the university.

    The real reason schools tolerate (which in my experience is what they do) sports programs? It creates recognition for the school. Would Notre Dame be a household name without the football team? Would people know where Gonzaga is without the basketball team (I didn't purposefully pick Catholic schools)? Florida saw their out of state admissions applications double after winning both the Football and Basketball titles in the same year.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    ^^^ But a student with a BFA in Acting from Carnegie Mellon has a CMU degree and has taken no non-Theatre courses other than one intro Math, one intro English, and a one-hour computer workshop. And their admission to a Top 25 university is predicated primarily upon their skill in an audition - not their intellectual depth. When they subsequently appear in starring roles on Broadway (as CMU BFA graduates are very inclined to do), lots of theatre patrons who may tend to be dismissive toward athletes read the actor's CMU pedigree in "Playbill" and think it's just wonderful.
  • collegemomof2collegemomof2 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    another duke basketball player was named to the academic all amer team today (3rd team) as a poly science major. Don't paint with a broad brush. I happen to know a starter for another D1 basketball program who routinely is on distinguished honors. The kid is brilliant and gets no breaks in the classroom other than the usual tutoring when the team is on the road. Many, many D1 athletes are great students because the same discipline that made them great athletes makes them great students.
  • MomasitaMomasita Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    Duke mens cross country team has an avg SAT of 1340
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    As the parent of a division one athlete in a revenue sport at a top 25 school, let me assure everyone that most schools take the education of their athletes very seriously, as does the NCAA. They may do it because they have to, but do it they must. Each athlete is required by the NCAA to declare a major by a certain date in their college career and they must meet specific "progress towards degree" requirements that prove they are on track. They cannot slide during one season and make up classes during another term; they have to carry an NCAA mandated number of units each term. They also must keep a certain GPA in order to compete. I would guess that athletes are held far more accountable than any other students on campus. My son has never gotten any favors from professors due to his status as an athlete. As a matter of fact, due to negative stereotypes about athletes, I would say he strives to perform better than others in order to exceed (defy?) his professors expectations . As for the people who think athletes whine too much about their "free" education: they earn it. They have to put in 40 hours a week (20 officially allowed (practice hours) per the NCAA and then conditioning, strength training, PR events and "volunteering" to work out and attend summer school when the team is "OFF." I think if anyone ever figured out their true pay per hour, it would have to be under minimum wage. Only an elite few of them will play professionally. Many will graduate with physical ailments directly related to their sport and some of those ailments, like arthritis or concussion syndrome, will be life long. The schools who do not graduate their athletes will soon start losing scholarship spots. This system, put in place in 2006, will have an impact beginning now. Lost scholarship spots means some coaches will lose more games and then lose their cushy jobs. Most parents care about the education of their children and will not send them to a school that does not have a good graduation record for their athletes. Believe me, I WISH my son could skip out after one year of school and make millions of dollars and enjoy financial security for the rest of his life. I would encourage him to take advantage of an opportunity like that. That doesn't happen for most. Athletes like Kyle Singler are one in a million. No one expects him to stay in college until he gets his degree. Why does the one in a million kid have to be the poster child for so many hard working student athletes who are working their behinds off to get a college degree? Do we take the diversity admit who has a low GPA/SAT who underperforms or fails out and say that all minorities/lower socioeconomic scale students are unworthy of their scholarships? Of course not. You cannot judge the many by looking at the few. This argument about sports comes up often. All I have to say is that when we as a global community stop watching broadcasts of collegiate sports and no one is betting on games or earning revenue from said sports, then the athletic departments will get smaller. Colleges cannot buy the media exposure they get from being mentioned by name a hundred times during a bowl game or the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Pictures of the campus are usually shown and commentators talk about the school. Those same elite university business schools that those who disparage student-athletes are dying to get their kids admitted to are producing the marketing experts who decide that college athletics is worth the expense. If people are really opposed to the way a university spends their dollars, they should let their feet do the walking and send their kids to a school that does not spend money on sports. Just as some consumers react negatively when colleges spend money on contraceptive services for students or bible study and pull that college from their list, you can to. Supply and demand will always rule the day.
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang Registered User Posts: 18,317 Senior Member
    Bully for Duke's cross country team-- what's the SAT average of their men's basketball team and their football team?

    Gadad, why the hostility to BFA programs? There's no secret; students get BFAs from conservatories. Some conservatories (CMU, Oberlin, Lawrence) are attached to colleges that also grant BAs and BSs in other programs, but people who get degrees from conservatories aren't hiding anything.
  • hops_scouthops_scout Registered User Posts: 3,903 Senior Member
    Bully for Duke's cross country team-- what's the SAT average of their men's basketball team and their football team?

    Probably a lot higher than you would expect.

    I would be shocked if many drama departments made money for the University.

    Cardinal Fang, why the hostility toward the athletic departments? Questions can go both ways... yes there are those athletes who are just that and shouldn't be in school. Most of them don't make it through school. Then there are MANY that get degrees and "Go Pro in something other than athletics."

    Would you believe a women's gymnastics team had a combined GPA of a 3.82 last year while maybe two of them had "easy" majors? Many of them were Exercise Science/Pre-Physical Therapy students. Oh, and let's add that they were ranked in the top 36 in the country in DI Women's Gymnastics!
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,694 Senior Member
    If a "big time" college athletic program (such as the top 10-15 Basketball and Football programs) is to remain competitive, it is unfortunately going to have to attract substandard students who will not care about academics. Most of those "student athletes" will graduate from high school with a 2.5-3.3 GPA having taken the minimum requirements to graduate and they will typically score between a 900-1100 on the SAT or between a 20-24 on the ACT.

    In college, they will most likely opt to follow some "independent studies" major or in major in a "special" program. All major universities are the same, even elite schools like Cal, Duke, Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford. Even the Ivy League, which claim to not give out athletic scholarships, lower their admissions standards for athletes in the major revenue sports.

    I think this is a shame really. It is ok to cut those athletes some slack, it is another thing entirely to hand everything to them on a platter. Standards should be drawn and enforced. And this should not be limited only to athletes. I maintain that a minimum level of education should be required of actors, fashion models, Musicians etc... should all be required to reach a minimum education standard and they should work their schedules around it rather than the other way around. Actors, athletes, fashion models and musicians have a huge influence on the young and earn huge salaries. I have no issue with that, but I think humanity should expect a great deal more out of them.
  • BigGBigG Registered User Posts: 3,885 Senior Member
    I modestly suggest that basketball players not enroll for or attend classes during their sport's busy season (usually Winter) but that they be required to attend Summer term (with monetary compensation equivalent to a Summer job). This is not a perfect match for many schools' academic schedules but perhaps it could be a starting point for discussions.

    Football players would concentrate on football during the Fall, and attend classes Spring, Winter and Summer.
This discussion has been closed.