COLLEGE ATHLETICS REDUX

Jane Galt continues the thread began yesterday with more in her post, Do college athletes get something more valuable than a salary?

I provided my commentary on that blog, but I’ll reprise it here:

1. For the most part, schools lose money on athletics. This is true even of the “money” sports like football and basketball at all but a relative handful of schools.

2. Most athletes do get something valuable out of school, or at least as valuable as other students get. The vast majority of athletes–those in the non-revenue sports and a minority of those in revenue sports–are actually pretty good students. Most of the kids on the golf, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, and volleyball teams are above-average students. These students get a double-value: a free college education, often at a “better” school than they’d have gotten a free ride to without their athletic skills plus the tangible and intangible value of having been a college athlete. All things being equal, college athletes do much better than their non-athlete compatriots (such as myself) on the job market and in the employment world. The Nike ads on the value of female participation in sports are essentially correct–and it works that way for the men, too.

3. Which sport matters. Many of those who play football, basketball and, to a much lesser extent, baseball at the higher levels of competitition are at college to gain a shot at the pros. Most of them won’t make it. It is this group who is most likely to be exploited.

FILED UNDER: Education, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.