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The Purpose of College Athletics Essay

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Updated: Dec 6th, 2018


Universities and colleges in the United States benefit from athletics more than the student-athlete does. Although the students get an opportunity to explore their talents while they are still young, they end up benefiting the colleges more than they benefit themselves.

This topic is important because from the studies undertaken by the researchers, it has been confirmed that colleges benefit more from athletics at the expense of student-athletes who in addition to paying school fees, for those not sponsored, bring revenue to the institution and get no pay.

The first part of the essay discusses the benefits the institutions of higher learning derive from the student-athletes in the United States. The second part shows why the student-athletes should be paid in the United States Universities by discussing the negative impacts in their lives when they participate in the college athletics. At Idaho State University, a football coach who abused a player and went unpunished is used as an example to show how student are abused at the time of bringing revenue to the college.

Benefits of college athletes to the institutions of higher learning in the United States

Michael Martin, the chancellor of Louisiana State University pointed out the benefits of the college athletics to the institutions of higher learning in the United States.

He said that despite the fact that they lost to the University of Alabama at the college football championship, the school gained a massive exposure because the event was aired in the national and international television stations. He was arguing that one of the benefits that the college derives from the college athletics is the marketing of the college to the potential students, sponsors and any other form of assistance to the college (Robe, 2012).

Martin also argued that the televised college athletics events contribute to the full achievement of the academic mission. He responded by saying that during the breaks where the players rest, advertisements about the school’s mission, vision, core functions and the principles will boost the academic performance of the school because the viewers of the game will get a chance to know about the academic programs offered by the participating college. Some may decide to enroll in the school from the programs they have seen during the resting time (Robe, 2012).

The good performance by the student-athlete is attributed to the University and not the student athlete. When a company approaches the institution to advertise their products through the student-athletes, all the revenue obtained goes to the university and not to the student.

This is corruption because the students do not earn money even after generating much income for the college. This scandal in the United States was alleged to be done by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), two of the former United States Olympic Committee and the various universities’ heads (Branch, 2012).

Several United States universities’ administrators believe that the college’s success in athletics amounts to the university’s ability to attract high quality people in both academics and athletics. Due to the larger market they reach during the college athletics championship, a well performing college will stand a higher chance of recruiting many good performing students in both academics and athletics because many potential students will admire to be part of the successful college.

This success will not be attributed to the student-athlete but to the hosting institution. According to Allen, Boston College recorded an increase by 33 percent of the applicants to the college when Doug Flutie became a football star in the early 1980s (Mixon, 2004)

Negative effects of college athletics to the student-athlete

The male students who participate in the college athletics is less recognized compared to the females who participate. Research shows that male students tend to engage in alcohol, partying and drug abuse more than they study during the college athletics. This effect is more pronounced in the lowly performing students and those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They argue that the sports, which take a considerable time in America, threaten the performance of students in institutions of higher learning (Robe, 2012).

Title IX is the gender-equity law that was passed by the congress and was meant to bridge the gap between men and women, which was increasing rapidly. In lieu of this law, many colleges and universities of higher learning in the United States established so many recreational sites and playing grounds for women to participate, which was not heard before enforcement of the law. College athletics have been used as an avenue through which this law is broken.

A survey conducted showed that many institutions claimed that the participants were women while in the real sense they were men. The best example is at Cornell, where it was not realized that out of the 34 participants who wore the masks on the women’s team, 15 of them were men. This was until they removed their masks (Katie, 2011.) In this regard, college women rights are undermined through the college athletics.

Through the college athletics, the coaches and the game organizers have abused many students-athletes. Mike Kramer, the Idaho university football coach pushed the player during the basketball practice. Kramer stopped in front of a player and yelled at him. Matters got worse when the attorney defending the coach threw this case away claiming that there were no enough medical records to show that the player was injured and no evidence from the other players and assistant coaches (Leonnig, 2012).

Despite the benefits drawn by the institution from the student-athletes and the challenges faced by the students who participate in the college athletics it is possible to assist the student-athletes to explore the talents bestowed upon them during their early stages of life. At the end, they might excel in the field and gain income from the sports. If student-athletes realize their full potential while at school, they may perform excellently in their field of expertise.


There are more disadvantages than there are advantages for a student athlete studying in the United states Universities and colleges. Student-athletes benefit the institution they are enrolled in more than they benefit themselves. This argument has been supported by the benefits that accrue to the institution when a student participates in athletics and the negative impacts on the participating student.

Therefore, it is important for every student athlete to be paid in proportion to the revenue that he or she generates for the college. However, despite these challenges, the student will have a chance to explore the talent at the early stages supported by the college funds set aside for sports and discover the sporting activities that he or she can perform best.


Branch, T. (2012). The Shame of College Sports. Boston: The Atlantic Monthly Group.

Katie, T. (2011). College teams, relying on deception, undermine gender equity: Gender game. New York. The New York Times.

Leonnig, C. (2012). Idaho State football coach Kramer will not face charges for pushing player. Washington: The Washington Post.

Mixon, F. (2004). Touchdowns and test scores: Exploring the relationship between athletics and academics. London: Routledge.

Robe, J. (2012). Rethinking the benefits of college athletics. Washington: Forbes.

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