The Possibility & Benefits of Professional Sports for College Athletes
The argument to be made in this paper is that the possibilities of achieving a professional sports career and the benefits once that professional career is achieved on the part of college athletes are not worth the odds of giving up on a college education. At the present time, it seems that the major university sports programs, especially in football and basketball, are geared to producing professional athletes without much emphasis being placed on the academic side of the college equation.
The paper will further argue that both the college sports programs and the athlete-students who participate in them cannot have it both ways. They cannot continue to be revenue producers for the schools while at the same time pretend to be pushing the ideals of scholarship and amateur athletics. At some point, a decision needs to be made. As pointed out by Barbash (1990):
[T]here should be a federal law that requires schools either to return to the Ivy League ideal in which players are legitimate members of the student body, judged by the same standards as everybody else, or let players on their teams be non-student professionals. (p. 39)
This paper argues that the second option should be the one chosen (creating college teams made up of non-student professionals) in order to remove both the hypocrisy and the unfairness of college athletic programs today. In essence, at the present time, college athletes must endure a four-year unpaid apprenticeship in order to hope for the opportunity to one day make it into the ranks of professional sport.
How likely are the odds of that happening? Well, the odds of a high school athlete becoming a professional athlete have been placed at about 10,000 to one: "As far as probabilities go, there's a better chance of, say, taking a coin, flipping it, and having it land on heads 13 times in a row" (Simons & Butow, 1997, p. 46). At th...