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The Hawkeye

Academics before athletics

John Stevens, [email protected]

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Growing up, my mother made it clear that with the exception of church, school came before anything. Whether I wanted to go to practice when I had homework or had a test the day after a big game, school was at the top of my priorities.

While I understand not everyone was brought up this way, what I can’t seem to wrap my mind around is how people in administrative positions can spend so much money on athletics and so little on academics.

Having a good football team in the fall is just about all some people care about in the South. On Fridays it’s high school ball, on Saturdays, it’s college ball and on Sundays it’s pro ball. I understand it because I love football.

But at what point in time are we going to tell our kids that their education is more important? The only way for these colleges and universities to stop overspending on athletics is to start with our youth.

In a study conducted by, they found that in 2010, the average amount of money spent on a student athlete was $84,000 while the average amount of money spent on a regular student was $13,349.

In what world does it make sense that you spend this much money for a student athlete to go to college but not a regular student? Why is it that their skill is so special?

Is it because they’re really good at their sport? Or because their skill set is going to bring more money from the alumni that watch them on Saturday afternoon?

I can understand that a student athlete’s first initial reaction may be that their schedule of hard work and practice isn’t easy, and I understand that. But, with such a little chance of going professional, it’s time we spend money on everyone’s academics.

I’m not asking for free school, I’m not even asking for free books. I’m asking that we across the nation take time and money to improve our school facilities, technology and living quarters for regular students.

Anything that can be improved to help better our education for students should be our number one priority.

In my mind, ULM has set the example by evening out their athletic spending with their academic spending. With addition to SMART board technology in study rooms and the renovation of Sandel Hall, people can tell that this school is ready to promote a better educating environment.

Other schools around the country tend to be obsessed with the amount of money they receive for athletics.

In 2015, when the Louisiana budget crisis became news to students, there was talk of cutting the LSU football program.

While this is exactly what I stated, it was “talk.” It proves to us that we as a society put our sports before our academics. While the education system in the state was hurting, the athletics at the state’s number one university was not.

If we can start spending more money on things that enhance our learning in and out of the classroom, we will be living in a better world. It would be nice to have a world with entertaining sports and well-educated citizens.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
Academics before athletics