‘Sports’ as a major could work for many college athletes

OPINION - There’s no such thing as a 'student-athlete' anymore...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

There’s no such thing as a “student-athlete” anymore.

Not in the sense it was intended to be anyways.

Seventeen and 18-year-old boys don’t necessarily dream of using their athletic talents to get a free ride to college. They dream of impressing on Saturdays until they’re old enough to get paid playing on Sundays. They dream of sneaker contracts and million-dollar endorsement deals – probably more than they dream of graduating and entering into a job that doesn’t involve playing their sport.

With many of these big-time Division 1 colleges producing professional-level talent, who can blame them?

With that said, there are many whom believe these kids are going to school to learn how to be engineers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. It’s a nice fantasy, but in reality, players like Ohio State’s Cardale Jones are too busy tweeting about how “pointless” they view going to class.

It’s a broken and corrupt system. Monday, David Pargman offered a solution in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Why do we impose upon young, talented, and serious-minded high-school seniors the imperative of selecting an academic major that is, more often than not, completely irrelevant to, or at least inconsistent with, their heartfelt desires and true career objectives: to be professional athletes? […]

Why not establish a well-planned, defensible, educationally sound curriculum that correlates with a career at the elite level of sports?”

Pargman, professor emeritus of educational psychology at Florida State University, presents a reasonable argument. Since several collegiate athletes – many of them African-American – come to school for the sole purpose of trying to become a professional athlete, why not tailor their coursework towards that pursuit? These athletes major in football and basketball anyway…why not make these sports part of an actual curriculum?

The argument against this is fairly straightforward. ( as displayed in some of the comments to Pargman’s article)  One of the most important things an athletic scholarship allows a student is the opportunity to get a free education. Many of these athletes would otherwise not be at college if not for their talent on the athletic field. We should encourage these athletes to get degrees so they can have careers after their collegiate careers are over – especially considering the overwhelming majority of them will never play their sport past college.