Let Athletes Major in Sports


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Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:53 am

Article linked on front page; finally someone makes this point:

http://chronicle.com/article/End-the-Ch ... es/135894/
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:57 am

"Why do we impose upon young, talented, and serious-minded high-school seniors the imperative of selecting an academic major that is, more often than not, completely irrelevant to, or at least inconsistent with, their heartfelt desires and true career objectives: to be professional athletes?"

"Their family members, friends, and high-school coaches acknowledge and support that goal, so why not let them step out of the closet and declare their true aspiration­—to study football, basketball, or baseball? Why not legitimize such an academic specialty in the same manner that other professional performance careers, such as dance, voice, theater, and music, are recognized and supported? Why treat preparation for professional sports careers differently? Why not establish a well-planned, defensible, educationally sound curriculum that correlates with a career at the elite level of sports?"
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby 18.99s » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:48 am

j-a-m wrote:"Why do we impose upon young, talented, and serious-minded high-school seniors the imperative of selecting an academic major that is, more often than not, completely irrelevant to, or at least inconsistent with, their heartfelt desires and true career objectives: to be professional athletes?"

"Their family members, friends, and high-school coaches acknowledge and support that goal, so why not let them step out of the closet and declare their true aspiration­—to study football, basketball, or baseball? Why not legitimize such an academic specialty in the same manner that other professional performance careers, such as dance, voice, theater, and music, are recognized and supported? Why treat preparation for professional sports careers differently? Why not establish a well-planned, defensible, educationally sound curriculum that correlates with a career at the elite level of sports?"

Probably because 99.9% of them won't have a career in sports?
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Marlow » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:11 am

Sports Management IS a very popular major in many universities. Since they won't be a pro athlete for even half their working lives, the SM major prepares them for a career in sports.

http://www.coe.fsu.edu/SM/
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby gh » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:36 am

Seems clear to me that Sports Management is a major for geeks (look no farther than the picture in the link!).

What's being argued for here is a program for actual jocks to increase their chances of an enriched—and perhaps even meaningful—education.

You can tack "management" onto whatever you want (Sports, Hotel); i'm guessing it's just a watered-down MBA track.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby bushop » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:33 am

18.99s wrote:
j-a-m wrote:"Why do we impose upon young, talented, and serious-minded high-school seniors the imperative of selecting an academic major that is, more often than not, completely irrelevant to, or at least inconsistent with, their heartfelt desires and true career objectives: to be professional athletes?"

"Their family members, friends, and high-school coaches acknowledge and support that goal, so why not let them step out of the closet and declare their true aspiration­—to study football, basketball, or baseball? Why not legitimize such an academic specialty in the same manner that other professional performance careers, such as dance, voice, theater, and music, are recognized and supported? Why treat preparation for professional sports careers differently? Why not establish a well-planned, defensible, educationally sound curriculum that correlates with a career at the elite level of sports?"

Probably because 99.9% of them won't have a career in sports?

Amen.
Allow students to compete on scholarship until they have their doctorate (8-10 years)... then we'll see real change in the student/ athlete.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby TN1965 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:47 am

uh... don't many schools already have exercise science major?
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Marlow » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:04 am

gh wrote:Seems clear to me that Sports Management is a major for geeks (look no farther than the picture in the link!).

Ha! :D That's a TAFNY-worthy declaration!!!
A major is neither geek nor cool. It is whatever you make of it. Dumbing down a college degree to "Playing Football" is a non-starter. Sports Management is a legit, cool, practical, etc., etc., major that WOULD benefit anyone wanting to devote themselves to sports . . . in any capcity.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby gh » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:06 pm

"dumbing down" is exactly what I think is being suggested, and I'm saying I don't think it's a bad idea at all. You're "whatever you make of it" is wondrous word candy for the intellectually gifted: this is a different way of looking at things, with nobody pretending that a degree in "sports" would be remotely comparable to one in physics. There have to be more options in life.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:35 pm

99% of college football players at DI schools and 99.5+% at other divisions are not going to make a career out of football. What else they attain in college will be part of what they have to forge a career. Will such a degree make it easier for them to be a college football player or for them to do well after college. I do not see much that allows us to address that. However, I am dubious that 27 classes of generic 'underwater basketweaving' will do much for post-college careers.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Marlow » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:40 pm

gh wrote:nobody pretending that a degree in "sports" would be remotely comparable to one in physics. There have to be more options in life.

Except for the fact many of the SM graduates will have higher salaries than many of the Physics majors.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:38 pm

No, very few of them will; remember only about 1% make the pros in any substantive manner. Further, it is not that uncommon for basketball and football guys to be broke by 35. And then what are they going to get from the SM 'college equivalency' degree?
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:57 pm

I believe one important aspect would be integrating athletics and academics. Even if a student athlete currently majors in sports management or exercise science, it's still considered separate from their athletics.

That sends the message that somehow athletics is something that's only tolerated at an academic institution, but not worthy of being one's focus at a college; and I disagree with that message. To the contrary, sports compares favorably to many majors currently offered at colleges.

So in addition to the practical advantages, further integrating the athletic and academic endeavors of a student athlete would send the right message about the high value of sports.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Marlow » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:36 am

j-a-m wrote:That sends the message that somehow athletics is something that's only tolerated at an academic institution, but not worthy of being one's focus at a college; and I disagree with that message.

??!!
Sports is/are (supposed to be) an extra-curricular activity. College is designed to result in an academic degree.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:52 am

There are plenty of classroom subjects directly related to sports:

Exercise science, sports psychology, sports marketing, sports journalism/PR, basic legal aspects of sports, etc.

If you have a curriculum with those subjects making up 80%, and practical experience (i.e training) making up the other 20%, then I consider that more than worthy of an academic degree.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby polevaultpower » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:53 am

TN1965 wrote:uh... don't many schools already have exercise science major?


Too science heavy for many and doesn't train you for as wide of a variety of careers as a Sports Management major which wouldn't be hard to apply to a wide range of event management or business careers.

I majored in Sports Management. :)
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby gh » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:48 am

Marlow wrote:
j-a-m wrote:That sends the message that somehow athletics is something that's only tolerated at an academic institution, but not worthy of being one's focus at a college; and I disagree with that message.

??!!
Sports is/are (supposed to be) an extra-curricular activity. College is designed to result in an academic degree.


This is exactly the point that's being argued. Who says sports are "supposed" to be extracurricular? Just because you think that way doesn't make it so. It may be time for a new paradigm. If education didn't evolve the only people in universities would be those who learned Latin & Greek and debated the great philosophers.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Marlow » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:03 am

gh wrote:This is exactly the point that's being argued. Who says sports are "supposed" to be extracurricular? Just because you think that way doesn't make it so. It may be time for a new paradigm. If education didn't evolve the only people in universities would be those who learned Latin & Greek and debated the great philosophers.

The underlined part is the key. It's not that I think it so; that is the national conception of a college education. You go to get a degree; if you want to play sports, be our guest, but don't kid yourself into thinking that sports are on a par with academics.

SHOULD there be a new paradigm? Sure - as you say, education must evolve with the times. But I do think it's a grave disservice to everyone if we put athletics (more specifically - being on a college sports team) on a par with academics. I am willing to concede that SOME individuals are better served pursuing athletic careers and they SHOULD be educated to do so, but that just brings me back to the degrees that colleges already offer, not to grant a degree because you were on the football team and devoted all your time and effort to just that playing that sport. But THAT, as you say, is just me.

Devil's advocate - There are HS sports academies across the country that do soccer or tennis or golf for the majority of the day and then have academic classes as almost an afterthought, and they are accredited to issue bonafide HS diplomas. So the idea of allowing colleges to do the same already has a significant precedent.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:22 am

gh wrote:Who says sports are "supposed" to be extracurricular?

Agreed. And I believe a true sports major in which you get class credit for being on the sports team (maybe 20% of your overall requirements) would be a step in just the right direction.

And not only would such a true sports major make practical sense; it would also offer a MORE well-rounded education than most of the majors currently offered.

In other words, if your goal of a college education is becoming a more well-rounded person, then this makes achieving your goal more likely than choosing a major in which you just spend all your time in the classroom.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby kuha » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:36 am

Marlow wrote:SHOULD there be a new paradigm? Sure - as you say, education must evolve with the times. But I do think it's a grave disservice to everyone if we put athletics (more specifically - being on a college sports team) on a par with academics.


I've got to agree with this basic sentiment. "Majoring" in playing football would represent, to me, the most narrow kind of "trade school" imaginable. I'm all for going to school to be a welder, or an electrician, etc. This sort of training is exceedingly narrow, but IS clearly intended to have a positive and long-term economic result. Pro sports are something entirely different--the failure rate is very high and the average span of employment is short. I just don't see what any "real," formal educational structure really has to do with this sort of employment paradigm.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby gh » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:20 am

kuha wrote:.... "Majoring" in playing football would represent, to me, the most narrow kind of "trade school" imaginable....


Did you actually read the article that started all this?

The guy's proposal suggested two years of "basic studies" comparable to what most college students take, then two years of this:

After those first two years are completed, a realistic curriculum for a "sports performance major" might look something like this:

<<Junior year, first semester: anatomy and physiology; educational psychology (introduction to learning theory); laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies (scrimmage).
Junior year, second semester: introduction to sports psychology; introduction to physiology of exercise; laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage); health education.
Senior year, first semester: introduction to human nutrition; public speaking; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (offensive and defensive strategies); introduction to sports coaching.
Senior year, second semester: introduction to motor learning; stress and performance; elements of business law; the body in motion (kinesiology).>>

Does that sound like "majoring in playing football"?
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby kuha » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:35 am

OK, in answer to your two questions:

1) in all honesty, no, not in its entirety. Guilty.
2) pretty much, yes, I'm afraid
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Marlow » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:38 am

gh wrote:
kuha wrote:.... "Majoring" in playing football would represent, to me, the most narrow kind of "trade school" imaginable....

Did you actually read the article that started all this? [Courses in a proposed curriculum]
Does that sound like "majoring in playing football"?

Many (most?) of those courses are not only 'good academic' courses, they are part of existing SM and 'exercise physiology' majors, and since all majors allow for courses outside the major, it would be prudent to include MOST of those courses in a sports-related major. The problem comes with these things:

laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies
laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage)
football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (offensive and defensive strategies)

Those 'courses' are what every varsity athlete already DOES in his/her sports. To place them in the curriculum as important elements of a major is . . . sorry . . . BS.

P.S. When I was in college I needed 180 Quarter Units to graduate. Being on the Track Team gave me 1 unit each quarter. So did Weight Lifting. They were 1-unit courses in the PE Dept. That seemed like a fair system.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby gh » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:32 am

Marlow wrote:.....
P.S. When I was in college I needed 180 Quarter Units to graduate. Being on the Track Team gave me 1 unit each quarter. So did Weight Lifting. They were 1-unit courses in the PE Dept. That seemed like a fair system.


You'll excuse me if I fail to see the relevance of what you did at an elitist institution 40 years ago when we're talking modern athletes of minor means!
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:46 am

So, will Georgia be the first school to implement this; then they can bring back their old basketball coach.

I think it could be worse than the curriculum listed above, but partly because I think it would either by design or by fact.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby lonewolf » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:50 am

gh wrote:
Marlow wrote:.....
P.S. When I was in college I needed 180 Quarter Units to graduate. Being on the Track Team gave me 1 unit each quarter. So did Weight Lifting. They were 1-unit courses in the PE Dept. That seemed like a fair system.


You'll excuse me if I fail to see the relevance of what you did at an elitist institution 40 years ago when we're talking modern athletes of minor means!

I don't know if it is relevant or not but I was on the track team at a non-elitist institution 60 years ago. We also got one hours credit per semester for several hundred hours of participation, which as Marlow says, seems well earned..and helped the grade point.
They also had non-athlete PE classes for track and field for credit... Students did not participate with the team but I can recall at least one varsity athlete came out of those classes....and, assuredly, we were all of modest means.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby polevaultpower » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:26 am

gh wrote:<<Junior year, first semester: anatomy and physiology; educational psychology (introduction to learning theory); laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies (scrimmage).
Junior year, second semester: introduction to sports psychology; introduction to physiology of exercise; laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage); health education.
Senior year, first semester: introduction to human nutrition; public speaking; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (offensive and defensive strategies); introduction to sports coaching.
Senior year, second semester: introduction to motor learning; stress and performance; elements of business law; the body in motion (kinesiology).>>


This guy thinks he is reinventing the wheel, but I was a Sport Management major at two Universities and a Sport Leadership major at UGA (in the past 6-12 years) and most of those are classes that are already offered in either a Sport Management or Exercise Science degree, he's basically just talking about a blend of two degrees that many schools already offer.

Unless he's talking about offering dumbed down classes to athletes only, I don't really consider this all that newsworthy, but maybe some people don't realize that you can already major in things that prepare you for a career in sports?
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby 18.99s » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:05 am

polevaultpower wrote:Unless he's talking about offering dumbed down classes to athletes only, I don't really consider this all that newsworthy, but maybe some people don't realize that you can already major in things that prepare you for a career in sports?

It appears to me that they're talking about a program where you can major in a sport to the extent of having your participation on the college team count for so many credits that you need almost nothing else to graduate (apart from the usual general education requirements).
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:42 am

polevaultpower wrote:
gh wrote:<<Junior year, first semester: anatomy and physiology; educational psychology (introduction to learning theory); laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies (scrimmage).
Junior year, second semester: introduction to sports psychology; introduction to physiology of exercise; laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage); health education.
Senior year, first semester: introduction to human nutrition; public speaking; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (offensive and defensive strategies); introduction to sports coaching.
Senior year, second semester: introduction to motor learning; stress and performance; elements of business law; the body in motion (kinesiology).>>


This guy thinks he is reinventing the wheel, but I was a Sport Management major at two Universities and a Sport Leadership major at UGA (in the past 6-12 years) and most of those are classes that are already offered in either a Sport Management or Exercise Science degree, he's basically just talking about a blend of two degrees that many schools already offer.

Unless he's talking about offering dumbed down classes to athletes only, I don't really consider this all that newsworthy, but maybe some people don't realize that you can already major in things that prepare you for a career in sports?


I don't know much about this field but this confirms what I suspected.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby Pego » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:11 am

Conor Dary wrote:
polevaultpower wrote:
gh wrote:<<Junior year, first semester: anatomy and physiology; educational psychology (introduction to learning theory); laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies (scrimmage).
Junior year, second semester: introduction to sports psychology; introduction to physiology of exercise; laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage); health education.
Senior year, first semester: introduction to human nutrition; public speaking; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (offensive and defensive strategies); introduction to sports coaching.
Senior year, second semester: introduction to motor learning; stress and performance; elements of business law; the body in motion (kinesiology).>>


This guy thinks he is reinventing the wheel, but I was a Sport Management major at two Universities and a Sport Leadership major at UGA (in the past 6-12 years) and most of those are classes that are already offered in either a Sport Management or Exercise Science degree, he's basically just talking about a blend of two degrees that many schools already offer.

Unless he's talking about offering dumbed down classes to athletes only, I don't really consider this all that newsworthy, but maybe some people don't realize that you can already major in things that prepare you for a career in sports?


I don't know much about this field but this confirms what I suspected.


In eastern Europe they have had sports/phy ed colleges at least since WW2 that train future phy ed teachers at all levels, coaches, managers. In my hometown, it was named Institute of physical education and sport.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby ATK » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:23 am

j-a-m wrote:
gh wrote:Who says sports are "supposed" to be extracurricular?

Agreed. And I believe a true sports major in which you get class credit for being on the sports team (maybe 20% of your overall requirements) would be a step in just the right direction.

So how about the scenarios that would make it impossible to earn your degree...

If your so good that you go Pro early?
If going Pro makes you ineligible for the sports team, but you need to be on a sports team to meet the class requirements, the major would basically make it impossible to graduate since your technically in the major to prepare for a pro career....

If the AD cuts the team you are on?
Does the Major get dropped as well? What would juniors and seniors do since they are past the general curiculum and can't just finish their degree without a team...

If you are not good enough to make a team in the first place?
If your a walk on to the track team, but come October you find out you didn't make it, does that force you to change your major?
Last edited by ATK on Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby polevaultpower » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:31 am

18.99s wrote:
polevaultpower wrote:Unless he's talking about offering dumbed down classes to athletes only, I don't really consider this all that newsworthy, but maybe some people don't realize that you can already major in things that prepare you for a career in sports?

It appears to me that they're talking about a program where you can major in a sport to the extent of having your participation on the college team count for so many credits that you need almost nothing else to graduate (apart from the usual general education requirements).


He lists a full load of courses for the junior and senior year.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:53 am

ATK wrote:If you are not good enough to make a team in the first place?
If your a walk on to the track team, but come October you find out you didn't make it, does that force you to change your major?

In situations like this you may have to transition to a related major where most of your credits count (like sports management) and may lose a semester; it wouldn't be that different from situations you already have (maybe can't do pre-med because you fail chemistry?)
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:57 am

ATK wrote:If the AD cuts the team you are on?
Does the Major get dropped as well? What would juniors and seniors do since they are past the general curiculum and can't just finish their degree without a team...

Schools would have an incentive to find a solution for those affected, in order to save the school's reputation (bad enough already for the school's reputation to cut a team).
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:06 pm

ATK wrote:If your so good that you go Pro early?
If going Pro makes you ineligible for the sports team, but you need to be on a sports team to meet the class requirements, the major would basically make it impossible to graduate since your technically in the major to prepare for a pro career....

That's an important question; my suggestion would be: You need practical experience in your sports as a class requirement, and if you can get that as a pro instead of on a college team, that's fine.

Let's say it's 20% of your class credit each semester. Most students would get that as student-athlete on their college team; but if you wanna finish your degree after going pro, your practical experience as a pro athlete would count for the same 20% pro semester.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby ExCoastRanger » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:35 pm

Many of the issues the article's author puts forth as a premise for his argument have little to do with young men floundering academically because they can't identify a major or don't feel engaged in their studies.
The problem is coaches recruit good football players who are lousy students.
I don't see how giving the "student athletes" partial credit for on-field activities will change their behavior -- and the behavior of the schools and coaches -- when they have to apply themselves to the rest of their rigorous course load.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby ATK » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:16 pm

j-a-m wrote:
ATK wrote:If you are not good enough to make a team in the first place?
If your a walk on to the track team, but come October you find out you didn't make it, does that force you to change your major?

In situations like this you may have to transition to a related major where most of your credits count (like sports management) and may lose a semester; it wouldn't be that different from situations you already have (maybe can't do pre-med because you fail chemistry?)

Bad analogy.
You can't fail Chemisrty if someone else in the class is smarter than you.
You can fail to make the track team if someone else is a better athlete than you.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:21 pm

ExCoastRanger wrote:The problem is coaches recruit good football players who are lousy students.

There's the underlying notion I disagree with, that somehow student athletes are not worthy of being on a college campus. If anything, I'd pick a well-rounded student athlete with a lower high school GPA and test scores over someone who's only doing well in the classroom.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby ExCoastRanger » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:33 pm

j-a-m wrote:
ExCoastRanger wrote:The problem is coaches recruit good football players who are lousy students.

There's the underlying notion I disagree with, that somehow student athletes are not worthy of being on a college campus....


That's not what I said, nor is it my underlying notion.
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Re: Let Athletes Major in Sports

Postby j-a-m » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:26 am

ExCoastRanger wrote:
j-a-m wrote:
ExCoastRanger wrote:The problem is coaches recruit good football players who are lousy students.

There's the underlying notion I disagree with, that somehow student athletes are not worthy of being on a college campus....


That's not what I said, nor is it my underlying notion.

Good, I then correct myself: It's an underlying notion in the opinions of many people who criticize college sports, but it's not your underlying notion.
j-a-m
 
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