Critical Thinking

The a life long career in sports, or

The Effects that Playing an NCAA Sport has on Academic PerformanceThere are over 450,000 student athletes competing in NCAA Sports across the United States. Many people are enrolled in sports at an early age, by their parents who have a desire to enable their children to find a passion. But should parents encourage their children to seek a life long career in sports, or are the effects more negative than positive? There are about 24 different types of sports that are competed in throughout the NCAA, and as said before 450,000 student athletes. But the majority of  these 450,000 athletes will not advance to the professional level. So is the time and effort put into these athletics really worth taking you away from your valuable study time? The long hours of practicing and preparing for games undoubtedly takes athletes away from studying. During the four years of a student’s college career, the participation in an NCAA sport produces negative effects on academic performance.The time spent by a student athlete must be managed properly in order to succeed in college. Their time is almost entirely made up of different aspects that have to do with their sport. Many student athletes even forget about the “student” part of college, focusing more of their time on how practice is going to go and how they are going to perform in their next game. Various cases support this claim of how NCAA athletics have a negative impact on academics. The busy schedule of a Brown University NCAA football player is a key piece of evidence to heavily support this claim: “Class/Lunch: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM, Treatment/Stretch: 1:15-2:45 PM, Meetings/Practice: 2:45-6:30 PM, Mandatory Study Hall: 8:00-10:00 PM” (ATG). The NCAA football players at Brown University are only given a time period of two hours to study for their classes each day. This is clearly not enough time to further their academic performance. Not only does the time spent on athletics take away valuable studying sessions, but it also diminishes the ability of prospering in a student athletes major of choice. The specific schedule of when practices, team meetings, physical treatment, and games disables the ability to take certain classes throughout the day. Some majors only have available classes in the morning or even only in the afternoon. When thinking about the downsides of athletics as it pertains to education, time constraint is the dominant thought that comes to mind. Travis Vogan, a professor at the University of Iowa, recognized that “an athlete’s education options are limited.” Due to daily practices, meetings, workouts, and games, which last year round, even in the summer, athletes are often unable to take afternoon classes and are discouraged from pursuing specific majors. For example, a professor at the University of Iowa explains, “When thinking about the downsides of athletics as it pertains to education, time constraint is the dominant thought that comes to mind. Travis Vogan, a professor at the University of Iowa, recognized that “an athlete’s education options are limited” (Duncan). Due to daily practices, meetings, workouts, and games, which last year round, even in the summer, athletes are often unable to take afternoon classes and are discouraged from pursuing specific majors.” This affects the student’s ability to choose what he or she wants to do with their life in the future and can even set them up for failure. If you are involved in a major that you do not exactly love there will be a negative impact on grades and GPA. GPA is everything when it comes to success in college. Without a solid GPA, opportunities such as scholarships and even graduation. Students who participate in an NCAA sport tend to somewhat forget about their academics and focus more on their athletics. This results in an enormous decrease in grade point. A study performed by Cooperative Institutional Research Program: Pascarella et al supports this claim,”Pascarella et al found that first year student-athletes lagged behind their peers in the cognitive development categories of reading comprehension, math, and critical thinking skills. Maloney and McCormick’s study discovered that athletes do three-tenths of a grade point worse than regular students in three out of ten classes. Student athletes struggle with life outside of the competition field in terms of defining their life skills and careers without their athletic capabilities” (Grimmit). This area of study shows that first year college students start off on the wrong track when it comes to academics which can be very hard to overcome throughout the rest of their college career. However, some student athletes may persevere through all of the hardships that come with both playing a sport and receiving a good education. But the only way this is done is with extra help from the school. For example, tutors, time management meetings, and peer advice. However, this requires a drive of success that not every athlete has, so this help will not be seeked. It may seem as though these students are doing just fine but it is a huge source of stress in the college environment and a large build up of stress often causes dropping out.                                     The final step in life is a career, and most student athletes believe they may already have this conquered. They believe that they hold the potential to become a professional athlete. However, what most do not realize is that these odds are very slim. As said before, there are roughly 500, 000 college students who are involved in an NCAA sport and clearly not all are going to make it to the major leagues. What must be done is a shift of focus from sports to education. One of many student athletes who thought the same was Ohio State’s quarterback in 2015, Cardale Jones. Within one of his tweets two years ago in which he complained about the “college” part of being a college football player. He wrote that he’d gone to Ohio State to play football, not “to play school,” and that classes were pointless (Zocalo Public Square). An attitude like this will not cause a positive outcome, it will only make things worse. Education is to be put at the top of the list of priorities. Overall, the negative impact that college sports has on academic performance is crucial. Study time is limited to very little throughout the year. The dream major of a student can be taken away. Time management is a tough challenge to face which can lead to an enormous amount of stress. The Grade point average of a student athlete tends to be lower than that of an everyday student. Lastly, students focus more on their sport and forget about the most important part of life: education.