The Incompatibility of Sports and Higher Education
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College sports programs were developed as a supplement to the academic experience, a means by which to foster in young students an appreciation for teamwork, competition, public spiritedness, and a sense of fair play. As time has passed, though, big-time college sports have become a revenue generating form of mass entertainment, making sports programs a primary vehicle through which many universities chase status and money. It could hardly be otherwise. Division 1-A football teams average revenue of around $30 million annually, while the very best teams cash in at close to $200 million.1 In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) estimated that post-secondary college sports raked in $14.2 billion in revenue, up from $4 billion in 2003, and more than every professional sports league except the National Football League.2
While most colleges contend that their sports programs fail to make a profit, it has become clear that the survival of many sports programs require, at the very...