Current Issues in College Athletics, Pt.2

In our second installment of Current Issues in College Athletics, two students in the Intro to Sports Administration course discuss two important topics from this area. Here are their thoughts:

By: Caitlin Buscemi

Crime within college athletics is something that is becoming more prevalent throughout the years. Crimes are seen mostly among Division 1 Basketball and Football Players, and may include a range of charges such as sexual assaults, fighting, or driving under the influence. The biggest problem with these athletes and their criminal records is that they are not being held accountable for their actions and are not being penalized. As stated in an ESPN article, these athletes are provided lawyers, sometimes even without their permission, and athletic departments are controlling these situations, ultimately allowing these players to get off the hook (Lavigne 2015). These athletes do not lose any scholarship they have, and usually end up back in the game the following week. This does not teach any lesson to these athletes.

According to another article about college athletics and crime, many coaches do not even do criminal background checks on these players before they are recruited. Many recruits have a criminal record throughout high school and since colleges aren’t checking their background, they are getting away with a scholarship and a chance to play at a Division 1 school. CBS News Chief, Armen Keteyian, asked NCAA President about the image of the NCAA. The President explained the NCAA does not want to represent people with large numbers of criminal accounts, yet they still don’t do background checks, which only cost around $25 (Keteyian 2011).

When convicted of a crime, players may end up serving time, but could still end up with a scholarship. Vileseni Fauonuku was in high school when he was arrested on two felony counts for robbery. At this time, he was being recruited. He was put on probation and he still was able to attend the University of Utah on a football scholarship (Keteyian 2011). Allowing these players to continue to receive money from Universities and fulfill their dreams seems wrong. It is almost like saying they can get away with breaking the law and still be able to play football.

One of the largest problems with college athletes is sexual assault. According to this article, “One in three college sexual assaults are committed by athletes.” The conviction rate for these athletes compared to the public is less than half, where the public is convicted 80% of the time, and athletes are only convicted 38% of the time (NCAVA). These students are being taught that it is okay to commit these crimes because their coaches and the athletic department will help them out and they will not be penalized. In most cases, players sit out for one or two games and then return to their starting position. Scholarships need to be revoked and these athletes should be held accountable for committing such crimes.

The NCAA is allowing this situation to get out of hand, which in turn leads to professional athletes breaking the law as well. “84% of the public believes colleges should revoke the scholarship of a player convicted of a crime” (NCAVA). So many people in the general public think that these scholarships should be taken away, but the NCAA and colleges are allowing players to be taught that sports are the most important thing and nothing, not even committing a crime, will stop sports from being the number one priority.

In the future, I would hope to see this change. I think these athletes need to be rightfully punished for their crimes. The NCAA should have guidelines in place for specific charges and what the punishment should be. The NCAA cannot allow this to continue to get out of hand. If the NCAA doesn’t do something about this, players will probably continue to act out. Playing a college sport should be a privilege, not something taken for granted. These athletes should be held to a much higher standard because they represent the NCAA, the University, and their sport. I would hope that the NCAA puts some type of guidelines into place that doesn’t allow players to get off the hook anymore. Something needs to be done, and hopefully, in the future, some great changes will be made.

Sources:

Benedict, Jeff, and Todd Crosset. “Statistics.” NCAVA. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Keteyian, Armen. “Out of Bounds: College Athletes and Crime.” CBS News. 3 Mar. 2011. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Lavigne, Paula. “Lawyers, Status, and Public Backlash Aid in College Athletes Accused of Crimes.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 15 June 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

By: Erica Hayworth

What do you think of when you hear names like Michigan State, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State, and Duke? Chances are you’re not thinking, ‘Wow, what a class selection they offer.’ You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, ‘What an athletic powerhouse! National Championship, here we come!’ I’ll be the first to admit I’m not thinking about those universities academic ranks. I’m thinking about what school to pick in my March Madness bracket.

Collegiate athletics and the athletes have become the face of many universities. Rightfully so, these athletes and athletic teams are bringing in top dollars, increased application rates, and the support of the public eye. What we as a society are forgetting, the point of attending college.

One of the hottest topics surrounding collegiate athletics is academic standards for athletes or lack of. It is said time and time again that athletes are treated different than non-student athletes. It is said student-athletes are not held to the same academic standard as everyone else. According to Mary Willingham, an athletic advisor at UNC Chapel Hill, this statement would be true. “Willingham’s job was to help athletes who weren’t quite ready academically for the work required at UNC (Ganim).”

Not quite ready? These athletes are admitted into the school. How could they not be ready? If athletes are not ready, how can they possibly get into schools like UNC? “College presidents have put in jeopardy the academic credibility of their universities just so we can have this entertainment industry…the NCAA continually wants to ignore this fact, but they are admitting students who cannot read (Ganim).” The message being sent to those certain student-athletes is that they are above the law. No wonder ESPN always has some sort of scandal involving an athlete who thinks the rules don’t apply to him/her.

What really blows my mind is the fact that professors, academic tutors, coaches, and other are helping these athletes cheat. People can argue everyone does it, but that’s irrelevant. You are compromising the integrity of a school and their staff. You are also compromising yourself as an educator, leader, and mentor. There are several colleges and universities involved in “flawed” academics. “A former Purdue University Women’s basketball assistant coach, fired last year, was found to have partially researched and composed a sociology paper for a player and then lied to university officials (Powers).”

Coaches, professors, and advisors are suppose to be setting an example and mentoring these student-athletes. Think about the kind of message being sent if they are helping these kids cheat. I think universities and the NCAA are all to blame. Something needs to change or we will continue hearing and reading about athletes and their lack of a true college education.

Sources:

Ganim, S. (2014, January 8). CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/us/ncaa-athletes-reading-scores/

Powers, E. (2007, October 2). Academic Fraud in Collegiate Athletics. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/fraud

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