I know that there are a lot of you who think that the term “student athlete” carries the same oxymoronic tune as jumbo shrimp or plastic silverware; nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t athletes among the student body who are attending school for the sake of attempting to parlay their respective physical talents into future real world dollars-they would be foolish otherwise. Nor do I call upon anyone to believe that there is no preferential treatment for those who are gifted in the ways of football, baseball, etc.to name a few. My point is that student athletes should be given consideration as both students and athletes, and not one or the other.
The truth of the matter is that they are a prized commodity at the university level and have the potential to garner immeasurable benefits for the institution that they represent. It is no mystery that alumni contributions increase during wining seasons, not to mention the sale of sports-related merchandise. If you feel that I’m overstating the worth of student athletes, just ask anyone on the board of trustees how much was lost by the Hurricanes football team not making a BCS bowl game. I asked, and the general opinion of the folks I spoke to was that in was in the neighborhood of millions, if not tens of millions.
This is not to say that a perverted bending of the rules is in order because a particular student athlete is thought to be invaluable to the team’s success. Considerations toward a student athlete should at all times be based on the individual’s particular set of circumstances and at no time unlawful or unethical. Personally, I have had the pleasure of teaching many a student athlete and I don’t find much difference in how they respond verses a student non-athlete. For the record, the only so-called special treatment that I have ever witnessed is the rescheduling of an exam due to a conflicting sports event, or some additional tutoring on the more complex aspects of the material taught, the latter being justified based on the extensive burden of the student athlete’s training and/or practice schedule. Both of these options (rescheduling of exams and tutoring) are generally offered to the student non-athletes as well, respective to justification.
Anyway, if we assume that college is supposed to prepare you for life, is it not wise then to realize that people with superior talents in their respective fields would get special treatment while still at college? If you still feel that student athletes are afforded too much consideration without justification and that the university would be better of without them, I suggest that you transfer immediately to the University of Utopia, or maybe Shangri-La U.None of those schools have any sports teams or student athletes.
Octavio Ramos is a doctoral candidate & graduate teaching assistant with the history department. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.