In his most recent column, Jeremi Suri uses the March Madness hype to reflect on the quality of education that college athletes are getting under an immense pressure to perform. According to the University of Texas Athletic Department mission statement, college athletes receive the resources necessary to “achieve academically and compete athletically… that prepare them with skills for life.” They are provided with scholarships, extensive tutoring, and a network of support. The resource they are in most need of, however, is time.
A college athlete’s performance is a zero-sum game. On one hand, more time for school leaves less time for sports. On the other, more time for sports means less time for school; athletes come to class with “their bodies are broken down” who can “barely walk,” according to Suri. Put one of the athletes Suri is talking about in an 8 am class and it is unlikely they will learn much.
But is holding college athlete’s to a lower academic standard really the solution? If not, who is really willing give up what it takes to hold them to a lower athletic standard? Why separate “college athletes” from “college students,” even rhetorically?Suri is right. Universities should have a plan for all around excellence and that should include everyone. The purpose of universities is to uplift each individual student to success – whether they are full-time students, active duty students, student workers, or student athletes.
Shah is a business and government major from Temple