Athletic education also belongs in the classroom


Athletes deserve their own sort of college education, both on the field and in the classroom.

In his recently published commentary piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education — an American newspaper specializing in university and college affairs — David Pargman argues that varsity athletes shouldn’t have to waste time on degrees they don’t truly want.

Instead, they should be able to specialize in the sport that they came to school for, earning something like a Bachelors of Arts in Sport Performance if they so please.

Especially in the US, as Pargman outlines, athletes are known to go to college solely for the sake of playing a team sport there — academics may not even come into play. These athletes are unnecessarily forced to pursue degree programs which they’re rarely invested in, wasting their time and money for the sake of being called a ‘student’ athlete.

As Pargman outlines, a specialized sports degree could allow athletes to dedicate their full time to their sport of choice, attending classes about sports psychology, scrimmaging and physiology.

Some might argue that such a degree may not carry much value, especially given that many athletic careers only last a few years, with limited opportunities to achieve great fame and fortune. The same can be said though of many other post-secondary programs.

Specialized programs exist for those who choose to pursue fine art or theatre — all degrees which can result in career paths that are just as competitive, short-lived and seemingly impractical. If structured appropriately, these degrees can still offer specialized, concrete skills that can lead to successful careers.

Students should have the ability to study what they are truly passionate about; currently, many varsity athletes are instead pushed into degrees that they could care less about.

While these sorts of programs may be less relevant in Canada, where university varsity sports don’t carry as much weight, this program could save time and money for countless varsity college athletes, giving them a higher quality university experience in general.

— Journal Editorial Board


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