Title 9 Essay Research Paper Athletic Scholarships

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Title 9 Essay, Research Paper Athletic Scholarships: Who Wins? 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 reformed to deemphasize 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 Alvin Sanoff observes, the aid for which many economically deprived student 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 athletes–or all programs– are 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. Men’s 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 women’s teams to use “hand-me-down” gear while men’s teams played with new “state of the art” equipment or for women’s teams to travel by bus while men’s teams traveled by plane (60). Another problem is that college athletes at all levels complain that their roles 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 athletic 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 isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” To the alumni, the administrators, and the fans, the only measure of an athletic program’s 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