Student Athletes Shouldn't Have To Participate In The "Student" Part, And Here's Why
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Student Athletes Shouldn't Have To Participate In The "Student" Part, And Here's Why

Destroying the fantasy of the student-athlete.

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Student Athletes Shouldn't Have To Participate In The "Student" Part, And Here's Why

It's an average Saturday afternoon, and I scroll through TV channels (and by TV channels, I mean sketchy internet websites), surfing through college football game after college football game, looking for something to watch. I may come across a college or two that I know someone from my High School attends, or even possibly a school I was accepted to but didn't have the heart (read: money) to attend. So, in the back of my mind, if only for a split second, I think of what it would have been like to attend a major sports powerhouse with students storming the field/court/rink (ok, maybe not a hockey rink) and living the hot cheerleader, beer-induced, fight song, "Rah-Rah" alma mater glory that is Division 1 college sports. But more often than not, I am confronted with some of the more head-scratching aspects of college sports, and to be honest, I'm not intending to make a multi-faceted argument on whether college athletes should be paid (I mean I could, but I'm far too lazy and strapped for time to do so). Instead, I'll offer a solution. See, I was inspired after this now infamous tweet by Ohio State star Quarterback Cardale Jones:

While Mr. Jones was almost universally derided for this tweet three years ago, fans were less hostile when he carried Ohio State to their eighth National Championship in 2014. Regardless, Mr. Jones actually makes a great point. Why should athletes have to "play school?" The sentiment of the All-American "student-athlete" is so ingrained in our society it is practically a cliche, as Mr. Bundy here heartily demonstrates:


Outside of popular media, however, the realities of the student athlete are much different than the fantasy many Americans seem to understand it as. Well known (if just a wee-bit controversial) pro cornerback Richard Sherman demonstrates the difficulties and almost impossibilities of managing athletics and a full time college education.

No one is obligated to empathize with Richard Sherman or any of the thousands of young adults who juggle the rigors of sports and college every semester. However, it is apparent that the system is broken. Thousands upon thousands of students attempt to go to college to play sports and achieve their dreams of becoming professional athletes. But even the NCAA's own website articulates the raw stats of how far-fetched that really is. When faced with the 1.6 percent probability of getting drafted into the NFL, for example, the popular TV slogan for the NCAA becomes almost gut-wrenching:

There are over 380,000 student athletes, and most of us go pro in something other than sports."

Well, it seems pretty obvious that "most of us" will go pro in something other than sports. But then again, stats aside, why should they? What is an education truly worth if it isn't what you're in school to get? It's 2015 and the job market isn't exactly looking pristine for any college grads right now, and student athletes are no different, except for the added stress that school and athletics currently bring. So what is there to do? Well, it's simple. We make Athletics Departments around the country their own schools. And the umbrella of sports within those departments would be their own majors. That's right. If Cardale Jones, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't want to play school, they shouldn't have to.

I love to read and write, which is why I'm an English Major. The love of cells and organisms is why many become Biology majors, and the list goes on and on. So if you love football, tennis, or Jai Alai (I'm not even sure what that is, but it sounds like a fun sport), nothing should stop you from making it your degree. There are a limitless possibility of classes one could theoretically take. FOOT 101: Intro to College Football. BASK 118: History of John Wooden and UCLA Basketball. BASE 205: Advanced Analytics in Baseball, etc. This isn't just some free ride for students to get out of learning; students would actually get an education in their field of study. Students should be experts in the pros and cons of their sports, how to become an ESPN analyst when they retire, how to thoroughly analyze film, or how to become a coach one day. I could go on and on, but athletes aren't always the fantastical jocks that our film tropes make them out to be. They are our peers and fellow students, and before they have to "play school," maybe we should stop schools from playing them too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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