By Lauren Privette
If you are a student here at JMU, according to USA Today: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/2010-09-21-athletic-fees-chart_N.htm , approximately 28.4% of your tuition went to JMU Athletics for the 2010-2011 academic year. That’s $2,228.00 for the year and, if the tuition stayed at $15,880, that would be $8,912.00 throughout your four years. On top of that, some alumni donate millions of dollars that fund athletic scholarships and monthly allowances given to the best of the best athletes. In fact, a university with “Division I sports spend[s] three to six times as much on each athlete as they do to educate each of their students” (Lewin, NY Times, 2013).
Everything from the addition to Bridgeforth Stadium to the $500 reimbursements all student-athletes receive every year for sport and non-sport related provisions—like clothing and linens is paid for by our tuition. If a student-athlete sees a nice pair of jeans at Lucky Brand Jeans, they can buy it and be paid back in full. The money is really meant for covering necessities like winter clothing for a student-athlete from a warmer climate, or bed sheets and towels for a student-athlete living on their own for the first time. Chiefly, it is meant for people who are in serious need of the money; however, it’s open to all.
Buying winter clothing is a viable use of that money, but there are no restrictions. People who don’t need the money are able to spend and be reimbursed the same amount as people who do. I don’t have a problem helping out a person who literally does not have the money to buy a winter jacket, but paying for a $100 pair of Lucky jeans seems out of reason. Multiply the $500 by 415 (the number of Varsity athletes) and that’s $207,500, if all student athletes take advantage of this offer and turn in their receipts.
College is about getting an education, obtaining a degree, and contributing to society. Scholarships are good, when given financially or academically. Instead, we’re giving them to many academically unqualified athletes—brushing aside the qualified person because we need the room for the athlete. I’m not saying that all athletes are stupid or unqualified, but many of them have tunnel vision regarding their sports; they concentrated on sports in high school and most will concentrate on the same in college; academics is put on the back burner.
Sports are a fundamental part of our society, and therein, lies the problem. Guess who the highest paid public employee is in your state? There’s a 78% chance that it’s a university coach.
Check how this info-graphic to find out about your state: http://deadspin.com/infographic-is-your-states-highest-paid-employee-a-co-489635228.
Also, if you’re curious, check out this website to see all public university salaries: http://www.collegiatetimes.com/databases/salaries.
University basketball and football coaches are getting paid (some in the millions of dollars), while non-student athletes struggle to pay for a tuition that is only rising. It’s a problem with its roots set deep in U.S American culture.
We grow up in a country where sports are a part of college, and college is a part of sports—they come hand in hand. But in reality, we’re one of the only places in the world that does this—Europe and developed Asian countries have some of the best universities and they don’t have intercollegiate sports. The idea that sports are a fundamental part of the college experience doesn’t exist. Instead, they have clubs and teams organized outside of academic institutions. There, much like our club teams here at JMU, participants must raise the money through fundraisers to pay for their travel costs and such.
However, there are positives in offering athletic scholarships. One positive is that athletes contribute to more diversity at the university. And by offering scholarships to athletes in lower income areas who have been at a disadvantage from the start and, therefore, had less of a chance at getting in, we are facilitating admission to people who wouldn’t have had a shot at college otherwise.
In pre-college schooling, U.S Americans are continually falling behind in the world rankings of reading and math scores. Along with a revamping and realignment of our education system, we could shift sports over to clubs and maintain universities as a place for higher learning.
However, it isn’t feasible to seperate sports and college in the US. It would be like pulling a baby away from its mother. Some people live for college sports events, like March Madness. Not to mention that college sports DO generate a ton of revenue, though it might not help the average student directly, it does help the schools’ and country’s economies (and those wealthy coaches…).
I maintain that the system of varsity university sports needs to revevaluated. Attending college is about your education, not athletics.