i Is College Athletics a Positive Experience? | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Nolan Matson

There has been a lot of new revolving around the NCAA and how they are and have been ripping off student athletes. In the Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, the host of the show, claims that the NCAA mistreats student athletes. He brings up several reasons why the NCAA is screwing the student athletes: the NCAA and coaches get millions while the players get an education, overworked schedule. The schools also get so many new things because of the money that they make from the athletes. However, these arguments are made for Division I college athletes more than Division III. College athletes in Division III gain positive experiences from collegiate activities. These experiences can range from creating new life values, creating good health benefits, help develop their time management skills, and creating a sense of pride in whatever you do. This is because the competition level of division three is not as high as division one and student athletes play for the love of the game. This is why Division III athletics programs like those of SNC, benefits college athletes, rather than harming them.

If student athletes want to succeed in college, they will have to develop their time management skills. The life of a college student can be very hectic and downright draining schedule. These athletes have to juggle the stresses of going to classes, going to team workouts/practices, find time to eat, do homework and study, trying to have a social life and get enough sleep to get through this weekly struggle. Now, some people might argue that college puts excessive amounts of stress on college athletes. This is true, the college life brings a daily amount of stress to student athlete’s life at college. It can come from lack of sleep, large amounts of homework and studying in a short amount of time (usually late at night). However, no matter what a student athlete does, stress is part of their daily life and you cannot change that, it is the life they choose to live. This is where time management comes into play. The goal of time management for a student athlete is: to manage your stress level at a minimal, while still performing the everyday workload. Zach Fritz, my fellow teammate, can testify to this: “College athletics teaches you even more responsibility than you have ever had before. Also, you adapt to dealing with hard schedules… If you cannot manage time, you won’t be able to deal with this type of schedule.” If a student athlete cannot handle the amount of stress effectively, then they will be under an overwhelming amount stressed. This is why Division III colleges stress to learn and help creates a time management schedule for its student athletes. To help manage their stress and their workload well.

There are people who believe that playing a college sport is a very risky and dangerous thing to do, which could be devastating to the athlete. These people would probably say, that there instances of horrible injuries such as a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), spinal injury, or brain injuries could possibly happen. They might urge college athletes that these injuries are not worth the risk. They would say that these injuries can be life changing mostly in a negative way. This argument is a reality. This past March, Chris Borland, a NFL linebacker who played for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, decided to retire because of concerns of concussions and the effects they can have later in life. Many other former players of the NFL have also retired, along with hundreds of college athletes. However, the NFL, college universities, etc., are informing and are trying to prevent these types of injuries, by making new rules and providing proper techniques to play the sport. Also these are risks in which almost every athlete knows about and takes the risk every time they step on the court, track, or field. Injuries are inevitable in the game of sports, it happens in middle school, high school, college and the pros. Even after some of these injuries, some athletes come back and play that same sport again and again or they become something greater. They become an inspiration. These athletes do not let their injuries defy them. College athletics pushes athletes to become the best of their abilities, this means a great deal of exercise and workouts. Along with the positive of becoming a greater athlete, the athlete also reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, to keeps your body fit and in top shape. My classmate Cecillia agrees: “Practicing everyday helps you to work out and keep your body in shape. Playing a sport means keeping up with your fitness even in the off season so it can help you to maintain a healthy life style.” Participating in physical activities such as college athletics can help maintain a healthy life style.

There always seems to be something different about sports to me. I personally believe it is the atmosphere that comes with it, especially with college athletics. I believe it’s the sense of pride.  Athletes of all ages, are hold accountable more than anyone other peer. This is because we have little kids and other people looking up at us when we play our games. We set the bar with our actions and responses. While teaching young kids in my high school I learned this first handed. As I help taught these kids the fundamentals of baseball, I noticed that they were looking up to me. They saw and learned that they had to put in hard work, be dedicated to become great. I essentially became their role model. This is why we should strive for greatness because that greatness that you create gives people hope that they can do the same or become even greater. This is why we play the game of sports, and this is the reason why sports of all ages will last forever.

Sports in general, give student athletes life values and lessons. College sports teaches young adults values of sportsmanship, hard work, dedication, along with so many more important life values. Kristi Dosh talks about six main values that we can learn from sports in her column, A Swing and a Miss: time management, teamwork, reliability, sportsmanship, responsibility, and confidence. If learned correctly, these values will help prepare an athlete for the next steps of their lives. Hard work and dedication will make them into a great worker, sportsmanship will teach them respect, maturity, and having them learn to overcome adversity. Responsibility of the being eligible to play your sport and being confident to be able to do anything in your power. These values help build us to become a better overall person and Mrs. Dosh agrees by saying: “I shudder to think how I might have turned out if I’d never had sports in my life.” I also couldn’t imagine what I would be like if I didn’t have sports in my life. My father taught me and my younger twin brother how to throw a ball and swing a bat as soon as we were able to walk. He took us to countless baseball games and tournament, where we made relationship with teammates that will last a life time. It is safe to say that sports has help shape me into the person I am today and will college athletics will continue to shape me for the rest of my life.

This is why I believe that college athletics is a positive experience for Division III athletes.

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