how do you feel about athletes being forced to go to school?

Discussion in 'Sports Zone' started by JoeyBoy718, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. JoeyBoy718

    JoeyBoy718 Well-Known Member

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    I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a sophomore at a Pac-12 university. She's taking some meaningless English 101 lecture hall class and she's been placed in a group with another girl and two guys on the football team. The class breaks up into 4-person groups each class to discuss assigned articles and review/critique each other's writing. Not surprisingly, the two football players don't do anything. They just sit there on there phone and say "I don't know" when the two girls ask them for their input. Actually, one of the guys is a little more respectful and at least tries to pretend like he cares.

    Anyway, so I was thinking about this and it got me thinking about sports in America, mainly football and basketball. People are forced to go to school in order to play sports. They're forced to maintain certain grades in order to play on their high school team, and they're forced to actually graduate from high school. Then they're forced to maintain a certain GPA in college in order to stay eligible to play, and they're forced to attend at least two years of college.

    I know the whole "It's good to have a degree to fall back on" argument, but let's be real. For one, they're not forced to finish their degree so that argument is invalid. Secondly, someone shouldn't be forced to earn a degree as a fallback plan. I agree that the smart thing to do is to get a degree because there are no guarantees that you'll become a rich professional. But just because it's smart to get a degree, doesn't mean it should be mandatory.

    As an American, you have the right to do earn any kind of living you want. You're only required to stay in school until you're 16. There are so many jobs and skills/sports/hobbies that don't require you to be in school. For example, you don't need school to be a comedian, movie star, musician, pro skateboarder, surfer, snowboarder, ultimate fighter, martial artist, video game designer, businessman, entrepreneur or almost any other thing.

    I just think it's unjust that football and basketball players are forced to go to school. I mean you don't "have to" but let's be real. Colleges recruit big time high school players, and the pros draft big time college players. There's no way around it. Whether or not it's smart to attend college (I'm working on my PhD so of course I'm an advocate for education), I don't think it's right to force people.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Kristen82

    Kristen82 Benched

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    On the whole, people with college educations earn vastly higher salaries than people with just secondary educations. There's also always the fallback of your education in case your foray into your desired career is unsuccessful or if you were undisciplined with your money. Vince Young entered the NFL 30 credits shy of a degree, earned a billion dollars yet declared bankruptcy in Jan. However, he did go back to school last year and finished his degree so he has that to fall back on.

    Don't think people should be forced to go to school but they at least should be made aware of its advantages aside from the financial security ones, e.g. increases your socialization skills by exposing you to a wide variety of social situations, personalities, and cultures, increases your mental discipline through forcing you to conform to a routine (class schedule, studying), etc. If anything should be forced on them at an early age. e.g. high school, it should be a money-management course. At an early age you tend to make career decisions with your heart, so you should be provided with the knowledge and analytical tools to be able to objectively evaluate your career options with. Think most NFL teams provide such courses to their rookies but even before you get to that point as a prospect you should immerse yourself in the world of personal finance.
  3. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    done those group projects many times and they are generally stupid wastes of time.
    i can see using them in some business type classes or for something project oriented where everyone has an assignment but the random group crap is beyond annoying.
    it is hardly just football players that suck in those situations.

    as to the rest...
    athletes are forced to attend and maintain grades only if they are representing an academic institution.
    that to me is not a problem at all.
    if the kids get some small amount of education on their way to athletic stardom it only helps them.
    even the big-time stars have relatively short careers.
    the education is helpful forever.
  4. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    I don't know but 18-19 yr olds should not be playing in the NFL. They need college to further mature their bodies for the physicality. MLB and the NBA are different, they can come out and play well out of high school.
    dogberry likes this.
  5. JoeyBoy718

    JoeyBoy718 Well-Known Member

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    But how else can they make a name for themselves if not in school? Colleges recruit high school players and the NFL drafts college players. It isn't like other sports (boxing, fighting, skate boarding, surfing, etc) where there are other venues to showcase your skills.

    And why isn't every other skill/hobby forced to go to school so that they have "something to fall back on"? My point is, people have a right to earn a career in any field without going to school. Whether or not school is good is not the point.
  6. Manwiththeplan

    Manwiththeplan Well-Known Member

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    If it were up to me, all athletes would be forced to follow the NFLs rule of 3 years from your HS graduation date.

    But if your argument is about physical maturity, a counter would be for a minor league system similar to football's where you all them up when you are ready. I'm certainly not in favor of that, but that would be the logical counter to your point.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    The problem here is that you can't really dictate to people who should play and who should not. There may be players who are physically and mentally ready to play in the NFL at an early age but those guys are very few and far between. While I completely get the idea that people should be allowed to make a living, the League must protect itself and that trumps all else. Without the League, nobody makes money. That consideration must come first IMO.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    They should create a minor league football system, similar to what they do in baseball.

    It allows college-age players to get paid and removes the hypocrisy of them being "student athletes" and all the money corruption that goes along with it. And keeps the 3 year buffer between high school and NFL.

    Kids graduate high school and either go try out for the minor leagues or are recruited by them. NFL teams either draft from the minor league teams or they are attached to the NFL franchises like a farm system. Let college athletics go back to being for the students of the university to participate in, after they are already students.

    If you wanted, the minor league teams could still be associated with the schools or state/region in some way, mostly in name only. If kids wanted to do both they could still go to college and play minor league football on the side like a job. Then you could have older washed up dudes playing in the minors too, for a chance to still get paid or rebound their careers.

    High School athletics can stay the same.

    There are lots of options but that is the general idea.
    casmith07 likes this.
  9. JoeyBoy718

    JoeyBoy718 Well-Known Member

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    It would never happen because college football is the 2nd most popular sport in America (second to the NFL) and it makes those schools so much money. But I agree with your theory, especially how you mention the "hypocrisy" of student athletes. You're right. If you look at an ideal college sport situation: A kid is a student at a university. He's majoring in something (let's say engineering). He played sports as a kid and wants something to do to keep him active. So he tries out for his school's football team. It sounds nice, right? That's how it pretty much is in high school. But the reality is, that doesn't happen because you're competing against professional-caliber athletes who are at this university solely for the purpose of preparing for the NFL. This kid has no chance to make the team. It's a little unfair because you'd think a student at X University should be able to partake in his school's organization, i.e. the Chess team, the mountain climbing club, the minority club, the football team, etc.
  10. casmith07

    casmith07 Attorney-at-Zone

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    I've been a huge proponent of a farm-style league for a long time. It allows teams to sign players to futures contracts as well and then retain their rights while they are in the minors.

    You'd likely have to move to a more fluid or uncapped system like baseball, however.
  11. JoeyBoy718

    JoeyBoy718 Well-Known Member

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    Even a farm system where you earn a modest salary, like $30-50k a year. For one, that's more money than any of these kids could have earned anyway, and they couldn't complain about not getting paid anymore. And a team can call you up whenever they feel you're ready, like one year, two year, three. I think it's brilliant. Give these kids a chance to earn some money and give the NFL a chance to let the talent develop. Of course this would never happen because college football is such a money maker.

    Once again, I'm an advocate for education. I'm beginning my PhD this Autumn. But I'm also an advocate for free will. I was never forced to go to college like a lot of young people are pressured by their parents. I did the military, worked construction, volunteered in Katrina clean up and slept in a car. I excelled in school because nobody forced me to do anything. I think a true student athlete is a beautiful thing. Someone who loves school and sports. But let's be real. Lots of these kids don't want to be in class, and they shouldn't be forced to be, no matter how smart or helpful a degree can be. And on top of that, they live on nothing and get suspended for asking their coach to buy them tacos.
    casmith07 likes this.
  12. Doc50

    Doc50 Original Fan

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    Why hasn't an NFL farm system already evolved over the ultra-successful last 50 yrs?

    There's no money in it.

    Owners have considered it, with the failed experiment of NFL Europe.
    Competitors have tried it, with the ill-fated WFL.
    We all long for football 24/7, and we thought spring and early summer league play would work.

    So why does the MLB farm system work?
    Because the MLB actually needs it to develop the special skills of hitting and pitching.
    Those skills may indeed take several years to reach the level of big leaguers, and a player can potentially play for 20 years without the likelihood of catastrophic injury, therefore taking the needed time to get to the bigs and still be healthy.

    An 18 yr old high school graduate can sign a minor league contract, or sign with a college program. You could make the argument that the minor league player can always go to college at a later time, but he won't have made enough in the minors to make that a comfortable option. The reality is that the high school minors signees are either boom or bust -- if they don't make the show in 3-6 years, they're selling cars or insurance or hamburgers (which may have been their limited fall-back position all along, having a major aversion to college classrooms). This is the same for any sport, and there are semi-pro leagues out there for just about everything.

    The NFL owners discovered that even in a wide open under-exposed venue, displaying a novel form of sports entertainment, fandom and revenues weren't that good, and the players just got beaten up rather than coached up. There's something to be said for being a backup player who can learn his position in limited-contact practices so that he's relatively healthy when his time comes. Violent collisions take their toll, and very few athletes negotiated one or more seasons of NFL Europe and turned that into NFL careers.

    The competing leagues here at home have had inferior players and refs, and could not attract much attention from the spoiled masses who see this game played at a much higher level. If we want to see lower standard play, we can go to the vast number of jr high & high school games (which I find much more entertaining than arena FB), and have a much more loyal following.

    Finally, talk to some guys who have been in the minors in any sport. Pay and benefits are minimal, travel is done ultra-cheaply and often with great inconvenience, and team chemistry or comradery is difficult to find. It's every man for himself, and there are often cutthroat tactics in use to further a career and hamper someone else's.

    So, the college path is by far the the wisest, and I hope everyone who has to break out in one of those small group sessions will try to learn a little something. No one is forcing anyone to go to college; it's just far and away the best option, and trying to create an NFL minor league won't work anyway.
  13. casmith07

    casmith07 Attorney-at-Zone

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    I just don't believe that there would be no money in it. The TV rights alone would be crazy. Especially if it were a spring league that started when free agency started, in order to allow signing of released players etc.
  14. JoeyBoy718

    JoeyBoy718 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't even be against the team still being represented by the colleges. They just wouldn't be students--they'd be employees or representatives of the college. We're kidding ourselves anyway if we think these guys are the average student at X University. They're there because of their physical ability. It isn't like people take pride in their favorite college team because the players represent the status quo. Give them the option to take classes and pursue a degree IF they meet the school's academic requirements. At least that way you wouldn't have to create fake majors and dumb down classes for these guys. If they really want a degree, they'll be held to the same standards as all the other students. It's a win-win-win-win if you ask me. 1) The school's academic integrity won't be in jeopardy, 2) The players who don't want to go to class don't need to, 3) The players who actually want to earn a degree will actually have to earn a degree, and 4) We won't have any more UNC African American Studies or Derrick Rose SAT scandals. Oh, and 5) These guys can actually get paid and we won't have any more silly suspensions over letting Deion Sanders buy you dinner or accepting a free tattoo.
    casmith07 likes this.
  15. gmoney112

    gmoney112 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, absolutely they should be forced to go to school and actually get an education. And I don't mean what it's turned into lately, athletes don't do anything at any of the major universities, except in rare exceptions.

    That way, they can actually contribute something to the society that's given them an extremely fortunate way of life when their very short careers wrap up. It's a civic responsibility to get an education, and you shouldn't get a pass because you can catch a ball or do totally sweet dunks. In my experience with athletes, most of them barely have a 10th grade reading level. That's ridiculous and is completely representative of why jobs are increasingly being shipped offshore.

    I'm actually for everyone having to go to college, or at least having a test of being a semi-competent literate adult. There's a reason why poverty and unemployment is a direct correlation of education level. For every exception of someone that "made it" without a college degree, there's about 20 people that are barely making rent. That being said, college should be free or cheap. An education should be a right, not a privilege and it's detrimental to our entire society in the global economy if we continue placing an emphasis on "doing whatever you want to do, because this is 'Murica." This isn't the 1950's, the entire world is increasingly more educated and if you want a spot at the table then you better start book learnin'.

    /rant over

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I was listening to Charles Barkley this morning and he made two points that I thought were very interesting. 1. Maybe 10 people are jumping from 1 year of College to the NBA. You are basically changing the entire infrastructure for 10 people. 2. The College system, which allows athletes to gain an education, has helped more economically deprived people then we now. His point was that if you take away the educational aspects of this thing, you will open the door to more people trying to jump directly into the Pros and the unintended consequences could terrible.

    I thought his take was interesting and I have to say that I agree with him.
  17. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    Nobody is forcing athletes to play their sport. We have education requirements in high school because the country believes that educating people is beneficial to them and the country. If a person wants to play a sport, that is purely up to them. It's a privilege, not a right. And since they academic institution is giving them the privilege of playing a sport and those athletes are representing the institution, they have to follow the institution's rules and guidelines.

    There are also plenty of skills that have education requirements. I work as a statistician. But regardless of my skills as a statistician, most companies would not hire me without a college degree. And many of the courses I had in college I have never used in my life. A friend of mine is a CPA and he had to have a MBA in order to become a CPA. And even after he received his MBA, there was no guarantee that he would become a CPA.

    And the only sports where this is really a problem is basketball and football. You don't have to go to college to be a MLB'er, or for the NHL or MMA. I think the NFL decided that it was in their best interests to have players wait 3 years after HS to be eligible for the NFL. And I think they made the right move. I think the NBA's 1-year has not helped the league much and it has hurt the college game.

    Lastly, if we really tried we could have a tremendously positive influence if amateur athletics had a strict guidelines of being eligible based on academics. If the bar was set at say a B average in each class, all of the sudden these athletes would get B's and would become better educated. The problem is that for every school that enforces strict academic guidelines, there are 50 that don't and continue to lower the bar instead of raising it.


    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, I'm not even sure that it's just the NBA or the NFL. The NBA has summer leagues that do not require a College Education and the NFL has the Canadian Football League and NFL tryouts that also, do not require a College Education. There are avenues available to those who do not wish to attend class but then, if you have enough talent to be able to just jump to the NFL or the NBA, you can probably do it from a Summer League or a Pro tryout right?
  19. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I agree. There was that one NBA player who decided to play in Europe after High School than go to college. And Eric Swann and Ray Seals neither attended college and became pros. Both played semi-pro ball after HS.

    In essence, you can't expect academic institutions to foot the bill on athletics and then think they are forcing people to go to school and think that is a bad thing. It is just an incredible line of thinking.


    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree Rich. Unfortunately, I see more and more of this line of thought permeate society with every passing day, it seems. I just don't understand it. I'm getting old I guess.

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