Athletics and Academics in the Current Economic Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Athletics and Academics

In the current economic climate of the United States, public institutions are finding themselves having to make harsher and harsher budget cuts. Teaching positions are minimized, class sizes are increased, and fees are rising to nearly unaffordable regions. The English Department at a certain university or high school may drop from twenty-five professors to a dozen or so. It is the harsh reality of living in an era of economic downturn. However, even as the college school would lose more and more financial assistance from the government, athletic programs at schools continue to expand and provide more and more incentives for prospective recruits. This is symptomatic of a flawed philosophy in college institutions: the ability to perform athletic skills has more importance than the ability to think. This perspective not only jades the graduating classes but teaches the wrong principles for when a student needs to learn to cope with the adult, working-class world.

Supporters of school athletics argue that the programs teach teamwork and cooperation as well as instill in the academically gifted an elevated sense of self-esteem (Meier 2004). Those is opposition argue that those who are not engaged in athletics perceive the importance placed on sports as having a detrimental effect. The adoration placed upon the athletic people is not bestowed upon students who are academically gifted, leading to misplaced value and improper priorities. To find out the basis for why these groups have such divergent opinions about what should be the priority in school, academics or athletics, the researchers for the article "A Lingering Question of Priorities: Athletic Budgets and Academic Performance Revisited" (2004), investigated the future goals of students and examined how expenditures on athletic budgets effected, positively or negatively, the academic abilities of the student population in question.

The research was conducted in Texas, a state known for fudging the rules of school attendance requirements in order to build up stronger high school football teams (Meier 2004). As with any organization that has divergent goals, also called goal conflict, the two top priorities of the school world, namely academic and athletic, forces the leadership of that organization into a form of limbo wherein he or she must appease factions supporting both sides of the debate. Often, as the researchers found, this battle for priority leads to lack of functionality and continued disagreement between the two groups and gets nowhere closer to resolution.

The findings of the research by Meier were that within a single school, athletics would have a positive impact on the academics of that individual. However, when examining an entire school district, it was determined that there was a negative correlation between academic performance and expenditure on athletics (Meier 2004). This is due to many factors. Primarily among them…

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