An Analysis of the Athletic Scholarships Supporting Physically Gifted and Talented Students

Last Updated: 28 Feb 2023
Essay type: Scholarship
Pages: 4 Views: 102

Athletic Scholarships are designed to support physically gifted and talented students. This simple description makes it difficult to envision the problems associated. With athletic scholarships but recently, athletic scholarships. And the programs linked with them have become quite controversial. In spite of this controversy, athletic scholarships should be retained. But college athletic programs should be revamped to de-emphasize winning. At all costs and to ensure that all student athletes are treated fairly.

College athletic programs are certainly valuable. These programs increase school spirit and help to create a sense of community. They also help to raise money. winning teams spark alumni contributions, and athletic events raise funds through ticket sales. In addition, athletic programs like programs in the performing arts and music help to provide a rewarding. Balanced education for all students. Student athletes make important academic, social, and cultural contributions to their schools and thus enrich the college experience for others. Finally, without athletic scholarships, many students would not be able to attend college because, as Allen Sanoff observes, the aid for which many economically deprived students athletes are eligible does not cover the expense of a college education the way athletic scholarships do (par. 5).

Despite their obvious advantages, college athletic programs have problems. First, not all athletesor all programsare valued equally. On many campuses money, equipment, and facilities have traditionally been allotted to football and basketball at the expense of less visible sports such as swimming, tennis, and field hockey. Mens sports have been given a disproportionate amount of support, and winning teams and coaches have been compensated accordingly. In fact, according to Sue M. Durrant, until recently it was not unusual for womens teams to use hand-me-down gear while mens teams played with new state of the art equipment or for womens teams to travel by bus while mens teams traveled by plane (60).

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Another problem is that college athletes at all levels complain that there role as athletes are overemphasized, to the detriment of their roles as students. According to Francis X. Dealy, some college athletic departments have become little more than glorified training camps for professional sports teams. This problem is compounded by overzealous recruiting practices, with colleges accepting academically unqualified students solely because of their athletic skills. These students are exploited and overworked, treated as commodities rather than as students, and given little academic support; many fail to graduate (106). With the demands of heavy travel and practice schedules, many student athletes even those with strong academic backgrounds, risk falling behind in their studies. Moreover, their grueling schedules tend to isolate them from other students, excluding them from the college community. Given these difficulties, college athletic programs are under considerable pressure to institute reforms.

The problems associated with athletic scholarships are numerous and complex, but they have less to do with the scholarships themselves than with the way dishonest and exploitive administrators run their programs. It is understandable that the main focus of most collegiate sports programs is winning. According to Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach, Winning isnt everything; its the only thing. To the alumni, the administrators, and the fans, that only measure of an athletic programs success is its win/loss record. A winning record attracts money and students; a losing record does not. They seem to believe, as the philosopher George Santayana has observed, In athletics, as in all performances, only winning is interesting. The rest has value only as leading to it or reflecting it (qtd. In Dealy 61).

This concentration on winning has led to some of the worst abuses in college athletic programs. Francis X. Dealy reports that this competitive attitude existed even in the first American inter-collegiate competition, an 1852 rowing contest between Harvard and Yale. Harvard won, and so began a fierce rivalry between the two schools (56). As Dealy observes, Judging from the intensity of the spectators and the participants, the stakes included which school had the more beautiful campus, the smarter faculty, the brighter student body, and the more successful alumni (59). The emphasis on winning encouraged the recruitment of the best athletes, no matter what the cost. In fact, Dealy observes that the first athletic scholarships were in the form of salaries paid to professional athletes to perform in the name of a particular school. Without regulation, athletic scholarships were like shady financial deals arranged in smoky back rooms (56). Athletes became commodities to be bought and sold.

Recruitment of student athletes is a large and controversial part of the athletic scholarship process. Understandably, colleges and universities want to recruit the finest athletes for their teams, but sometimes this quest for the best has led to unethical and aggressive recruitment practices. Dealy reports, for example, that until the late 1980s, recruiters openly enticed talented high school football players by promising them generous financial aid and merchandise including cars or expensive athletic clothing and shoes. This kind of behavior prompted school action and initiated the NCAA to impose sanctions and rules on scholarships.

Despite their problems, colleges should retain athletic scholarships with certain changes. Academic support programs should be reformed so that they are fair to all student athletesmen and women, tennis players and football players, winners and losers. Academicsnot sportsmust be given first priority. Students who receive athletic scholarships should not be exploited; they should be treated like all other scholarship recipients. Recruitment should be responsible, academic standards should be maintained, and promises made to athletes should be realistic.

In short, the scholarship athlete should be treated like any other exceptional student on campus who loves his or her subject and takes pride in the process of learning. Athletic programs clearly benefit educational institutions, and athletic scholarships should certainly be a part of any college system; however, the focus of sports programs should expand to encompass the personal enrichment of the whole student. Shifting the focus away from winning will ultimately benefit not only college athletes and the scholarship programs that support them, but also the colleges themselves.

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An Analysis of the Athletic Scholarships Supporting Physically Gifted and Talented Students. (2023, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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