College athletics equates to prison


Posted 03/21/2017 - 23:09
Posted 02/01/2017 - 22:09
Posted 02/01/2017 - 21:25
Posted 03/22/2017 - 19:34
Posted 03/02/2017 - 13:50
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 6:43pm

The NCAA March Madness tournament has taken off and is running full-steam ahead. We are seeing immense feats of athleticism. These athletes astound us with their abilities and what they can do and we celebrate the work they do to get there. With all this praise we lose sight of what it really means to be a student-athlete.

Intercollegiate sports are so competitive that you just can’t “be” the superstar, you have to work more hours of hard work than anyone else to “become” the superstar. Talent alone can no longer cut it because out of the hundreds of millions of basketball fans, odds are your talent isn’t unrivaled; hard work is what begins to separate the high school state champ and the NBA’s first-round pick. You have to start doing the “new impossible” to become a professional player.

The odds of becoming an NBA player are miniscule. There are about 546,335 high school basketball players in the United States and there are only 446 NBA players on the opening rosters of 2015-16 season, counting international players. That gives you a .08 percent chance of getting into the NBA as a high school student. That jumps to about 1.2 percent if you play ball in college. To go from a college player to the NBA you have to essentially dedicate your life to playing basketball, but what does that mean for your grades.

Historically we have seen that college athletes take generally easier classes and majors, but we also notice that their academic performance drops dramatically during the season. They take classes that they can pass and stay eligible to continue making money for the university. The reason that it is a prison is because they cannot stop working on their sport because if they do, they start underperforming and their scholarships get cut, which for many college athletes, is the only way they can afford to attend college. If their scholarships get cut they have to drop out.

The universities they play for can basically hold these athletes as prisoners of a system that can profit off of them. The worst part is that the university can’t lose off this deal. Either the player succeeds and plays professional sports, from which the school has gained a great donor and a success story, or they fail and the school got four years of fruitful, essentially free labor.

This system gets worse when you look at low-income students. When you have the highest concentration of low-income students in college athletics, this system becomes even worst because there is no escape. On top of that college athletics has a higher percentage of low-income participation than regular college students. This means that low-income students are getting scholarships to play collegiate sports, unable to pay for college otherwise, they become stuck in this exploitative system, because unlike their higher-income counterparts, they can’t afford to ditch sports for their grades.

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