College athletics are a huge part of why many student athletes decide to continue their education after high school. Often times in division 1 sports the student athletes are exploited for money, fame, and glory. They sometimes go without food, adequate clothing, and many other challenges that many people such as John Oliver pointed out. While this is an issue that needs immediate attention its much different for some other student athletes. Schools like St. Norbert make sure that their student athletes are taken care of while ensuring that they learn skills to help them later on at life.
My experience with college sports started at about the beginning of my junior year when colleges and universities started to recruit me for football. My first experience was when I went to the University of Michigan for a weeklong recruitment football camp. For the first time in a while I was surrounded by people as good as me and even better. The University of Michigan seemed like a dream. The amount of equipment they had must of rivaled NFL teams even. How is it that a team can have 5 indoor practice fields but still be a part of this disease that comedian John Oliver made D1 sports out to be? The simple answer is it wasn’t; all of the players on the team were taken care of. Anything that they needed, they got. Along with that there was an overwhelming sense of family there and that was something that really struck me. And it was unfair for him to group all of college athletics together like he did because the simple fact of the matter is that even though some of the large division 1 schools didn’t take care of therir players as well as others, there are just as many small schools that have a much different feel than big ones who are very concerned with money making aspect of college athletics.
Anyone who has ever played a sport they loved they know what its like to never want to stop. People always give testimonies to how college athletics could have saved their lives and sent them in the right direction. The opportunity of a lifetime is awarded to some of them in the form of a full ride to a school they’ve dreamed of going to their entire life. This is perhaps the biggest plus of college athletics, it can find someone with and extraordinary ability and give them the best educations money can offer for free. Some of them may not have even attended additional school if it wasn’t for athletics. It helps them find a home.
My football career brought me home in a sense. It brings a lot of student athletes to where they call home. At the beginning of my college choosing journey I was basically a lost puppy wandering around from school to school trying to figure out where I would fit in. It was difficult at first but then I came to St. Norbert and I was welcomed by the team and that’s when coach McCarty asked me a very important question, and that was “do you think this is a place that you can see yourself calling home”. Everything sort of clicked at that point; this was a place that had home written all over it. That’s a huge part of what being a student athlete is all about. Student athletes are brought together with others who would have otherwise never met each other if it weren’t for the sports they play.
Another huge proponent of what makes college athletics so helpful is the fact that the athletes are held to higher standards than other students because of their coaches, athletic codes, and society. It’s never a bad thing to give someone a bit of extra responsibility when they begin growing up and that’s exactly what you do with student athletes. They have to sign athletic codes that say they wont do things like engage in drinking, drug use, etc. and that makes them accountable for themselves and their actions as well as looking after other individuals on the team that otherwise may not have been important to you. I know this because I had to sign one when I was planning on playing sports at St. Norbert.
I believe that college athletics in some cases may not be the best option for some. However at a school like St. Norbert you can be assured that the athletic programs are run with respect for humanity as well as regard for what players personally need and I think that it is very good to get young adults involved in sports so that they can learn life skills.