Colleges Should Not Award Athletic Scholarships

CollegesShould Not Award Athletic Scholarships


Itis often said that education or good academic performance is the keyto success. However, talents can also help people become successful.For this reason, parents encourage their children to focus on bothacademics and talents. Many kids participate in sporting events withthe hopes of being awarded an athletic scholarship. Only a smallpercentage of them manage to get a scholarship. It is estimated thatonly about “2% manage to get a scholarships worth $ 11,000 or more”(Arum 139). Students can get either a partial or a full scholarship.A partial scholarship covers a fraction of tuition, accommodation orany other expense while a full scholarship covers most of theexpenses such as full tuition and accommodation (Blum 84). TheNational Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) awards scholarshipsfor specific sports and also categorizes institutions into threedivisions which determine which type of scholarships they can award(Arum 140). A scholarship in any given sport gives learners a chanceto be gain a college education at a discount and also gives themheadway in progressing to professional sports after college. However,the current manner in which these scholarships are organized, theycause more than benefits and thus should be abolished.

TheNCAA organizes colleges and institution into distinct categoriescalled Divisions based on budget, sporting facilities and the typeathletic scholarships they can offer. They are Divisions I, II andIII. Division I includes “Harvard, Yale, University of Alabama,Boston University, University of California Berkeley, DavidsonCollege, and Chicago State University” among others (Wheeler 195).Furthermore, sports are also organized into two categorieshead-count sports and equivalency sports. Head-count sports for meninclude basketball and Division IA football. For women, head-countsports include basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics(Wheeler 121). Division I colleges only offer athletic scholarshipsin “head-count” sports. which include football (DI FBS only),basketball (DI men’s and women’s), tennis (DI women only),gymnastics (DI women only) and volleyball (DI women only) (Wheeler121). Division II colleges “have moderate budgets and sportingfacilities and can offer both full and partial athletic scholarships”while Division III colleges cannot offer any athletic scholarships(Wheeler 129).

Onereason that sports scholarship impact negatively on the benefittingstudents is the disparity between the expectations and the reality.Students pursue sports fervently in the hope that they will getsports scholarships but are often not aware that these scholarshipsinvolve a significantly small amount of money and are very hard tocome by. For instance, the NCAA partial scholarships amount to $8,707for “head-count” sports with basketball and football scholarshipsbeing relatively higher at $10,409 (Schlachter 127). For track andfield sports as well as baseball, the amount is as lower at just$2000. This amount is too small given “in 2010 and 2011, 99% ofacademic institutions charged $50,000 or more” and other 58institutions charge higher (Thelin 80). This implies that scholarshipbeneficiaries still have a lot to pay to top up college fees.

Inaddition, the scholarships expose the beneficiaries to too muchpressure from parents, sponsors, and sports fraternity. NCAAscholarships are not guaranteed for the whole duration of college butthey have to be evaluated and renewed every year. This means that thebeneficiaries have to maintain excellent performance if they are toretain their scholarships. Therefore, beneficiaries have to put in“extra effort” such as waking up early to practice and doingextra practice sessions just to be on top of their game (Arum 106).That could be stressful and may distract the student from focusing onhis or her main goal of getting a college degree. Besides,beneficiaries are also under constant pressure from within and fromscouts of professional sports teams, sponsors, personal trainers andthe entire sports industry. By being beneficiaries of sportsscholarship, students may impose on themselves high standards insporting that might not be realistic. Sports entrepreneurs are likelyto pressure scholarship beneficiaries into professional sportsmen to“capitalize on their skills and sometimes fame” (Arum 107).Moreover, psychologists say it is unhealthy to expose collegeathletes to the sports industry at such an early age. This is becausetheir minds are not well developed enough to handle theresponsibilities that come with playing professional sports.Normally, fame and money can make students lose focus on theirstudies or “expose them to psychological and emotional stress”(Blum 98). This can affect both their talents and academicperformance.

Asstudents excel in sports and are exposed to pressure to turnprofessional, their education is likely to be affected. As studentslearn that they are famous and can earn more money from sports thanfrom their education, they may tend to value education less. The samepolicy may be pursued by learning institutions in pursuit ofcorporate sports sponsorship. For NCAA-listed schools, the athleticsscholarship program’s core focus is “rewarding students whoperform well in athletics” as opposed to those doing well inacademics (Schlachter 114). This may make athletes who perform wellin academics become discouraged and focus more on sports.Additionally, ignoring good academic performance in schools couldlead to a faulty education system as most of institutional resourceswould be allocated to sporting events. That could also mean thatstudents who do not have the required academic qualifications can beenrolled in colleges while academically qualified ones arediscriminated against. In the same way, coaches can split theequivalency sports scholarships in as many times as they want totarget their preferred athletes (Wheeler, 111). Colleges occasionally“split up their athletic scholarships” (ibid) to increase thenumber of beneficiaries. Therefore, other factors such as“need-based, academic, special talent, minority, merit andleadership” may be used in choosing additionally beneficial orallocation of the scholarship (Wheeler 106). This implies thatbeneficiaries may be forced into seeking alternative ways to earnmoney for college fees which does not necessarily support theiracademic endeavors.

Anotherreason to abolish athletic scholarships is the recent trend ofathletes making monetary demands from institutions. Some athleteshave made demands to be paid salaries on top of their scholarships.This applies to those receiving partial and full scholarships.Demanding salaries is “selfish and unfair to other deservingathletes” that miss out on the scholarships (Blum 56). With someathletes aware of their sports potential and ability to attractsponsors, they use their position to demand payments, whichcompromises the athletic scholarship programs. In addition, makingpayments to beneficiaries would reduce focus on other sports asinstitutions would only be willing to make payments to studentsparticipating in sports that attract corporate sponsorship, which ismanaged by the NCAA. In this case, football and basketball would winbig with smaller sports such as swimming and badminton losinggreatly.

Itis thus clear why sports scholarships should be abolished. While thepublic is largely informed about the benefits of sponsorship on theeducation of talented and sometimes needy individuals, it isnecessary to look at the other side of these scholarships. Issues ofexcessive pressure to perform, poor academic performance, overexpectations and recent demands for payments from beneficiaries haveall combined to create a net negative effect of the sportsscholarships on beneficiaries and the education system. However, thefact these scholarships have created many sports professional andalso helped streamline sports in high schools cannot be ignored.However, there is need for a better approach to reward sports talentwithout the discussed negative effects.


Arum,Richard, and Josipa Roksa. AcademicallyAdrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.

Blum,Laurie. FreeMoney for Athletic Scholarships., 2013. Internet resource.

O`Shaughnessy,Lynn 8things you should know about sports scholarships.CBS News.

September20, 2012. Internet resource.

Schlachter,Gail A, and R D. Weber. Scholarships.New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2007. Print.

Thelin,John, The Rising Costs of Higher Education.

Wheeler,Dion. TheSports Scholarships Insider`s Guide: Getting Money for College at Any

Division.Naperville, Ill: Sourcebooks, 2005. Print.

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