A 2.3 GPA plus a 980 SAT score equals a full ride scholarship to a Division I university for anyone who can throw a pigskin ball or kick a leather one. And when a student with a 4.3 GPA and a 1500 SAT score is added into that equation, the college inexplicably still sends an acceptance letter to the athlete and regrets to inform the latter of their denial. While being a student athlete should be thoroughly encouraged, the issue arises when college scholarships promote being all athlete and no student.
Annually, over 150,000 students with inadequate academic statistics are given a leg-in to the nation’s most prestigious universities while overachieving students are pushed to the curb.
Considering these overachieving students of today will become the doctors, engineers, and politicians of the future, such convoluted metrics simply makes no sense. Nevertheless, world-renowned universities have an odd obsession with saving face rather than sculpting the brains of the future.
“All applicants to Harvard are ranked on a scale of one to six based on their academic qualifications, and athletes who scored a four were accepted at a rate of about 70 percent,” stated an article by The Atlantic. “Yet the admit rate for non-athletes with the same score was 0.076 percent—nearly 1,000 times lower.”
Even America’s top university is sacrificing students who are enamored by the thought of books and lecture halls in order to accept athletes with no-interest in medicine, engineering, politics, or the future. There is no reason as to why a student with a 4.3 GPA and 1500 SAT score should compromise their college education for an athlete with a 2.3 GPA and 980 SAT score. Athletic scholarships take money from students who want to be in the classroom and hand them to 150,000 athletes that would rather be on the field.
And comparing those 150,000 people to the 480,000 that play a sport at a four-year university, there are only a handful of student-athletes reaping the benefits of being both a student and an athlete. In addition, the athletes that are gaining financial benefits from their university fail to take advantage of being a “student-athlete”.
According to Time Magazine, Ohio State University’s quarterback, Cardale Jones tweeted that he had attended Ohio State to play football, not “to play school.” Jones is among the many football players who seem to mistake college ball for the NFL. Once athletes receive an offer to play a sport for the team of their dreams, many disregard the expectations of their professor and solely focus on the demands of their coach. After all, there is no incentive for students to work hard if maintaining the minimum GPA is all they need to play hard.
According to Communities Digital News, whether part of a sports team or not, every single student sacrifices their money to pay for an athlete’s tuition.
“At many universities, fully one-half of the student services fee goes towards sports scholarships and other athletic expenditures,” an article by Julia Goralka said.
Money is a major factor that deprives students and athletes alike the chance to earn a scholarship at a world-renowned university. On average, Division 1A football teams alone generate about $31.9 million, and the other sports bring in $25 million more. When it comes to greedy American institutions, the profit is an excuse for why scholarships are sent out to athletes and withheld from the academically-inclined.
While there is blame to be placed on the schools, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is the most prominent driving fuel behind this unfair advantage of athletic scholarships. Spending an annual average of $2.9 billion dollars on athletic scholarships, the NCAA essentially steals educational opportunities from students based on whether they prefer to be in the classroom or out on the field.
The NCAA’s use of the term “student-athlete” is very misleading. Compared to someone that upholds the title of valedictorian, calling someone who barely fulfills a minimum GPA requirement a deserving “student” is questionable.
Do the math- a flawless athletic record should never permit colleges to welcome the underachieving athlete and deny the overachieving student. It’s up to the students, universities, and NCAA to recognize that the athlete who wants to play football but not play school is undeserving of the scholarship designated for a “student-athlete”.