Academics vs Athletics

Academics VS Athletics

The topic of Academics vs Athletics and only one being priority is a very big topic that is being discussed throughout many school boards. Although I feel the two have equal importance I would like you to know, I am on the side of Athletics being more important. I do agree academics are a very big aspect in school; however they should not be more important than athletics. Although people have the perception of athletes not being focused on actual studies, I believe athletics should not be compromised due to the lack of academic success. As much as much as everyone has negative things to say about athletics, there are also positive sides making them just as important.

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Athletic sports are not just an extracurricular activity; they are also a very good way to get into college. Athletics have the ability to give many kids the chance of going to college who never had the opportunity before. Yes, it may be hard to get a scholarship in athletics but it still gets one more student to college than before. According to Mark Kantrowitz (a nationally-recognized expert on student financial aid, scholarships and student loans) 2% of high school athletes get scholarships, but what people don’t understand is this motivates student athletes to have better grades in school. Athletes are required to maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average with no F’s in order to play their sport, which is still enough to graduate. This is more than what the average student is required to maintain alone. The non-athlete student is more likely to have lower grade with just the fact that they will have nothing taken away from them. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) did made a chart of how many high school, athletes move onto college, 3.0% of Men’s Basketball, 3.3% of Women’s Basketball, 6.1% of Baseball, 11% of Men’s Ice Hockey, 5.7% of Football, and 5.5% of Men’s Soccer athletes move on to play sports in college in the NCAA. This by itself shows that athletes have more of an opportunity to go to college than an average non-athlete student,

There is a lot of talk about student athletes not being focused on academics
and having bad grades but is this really true? High school athletes actually do better academically vs. the non-athlete student. Research has shown that high school student athletes tend to have higher grade point averages than non-athletes. (Eitzen & Saga, 1993). The average female high school GPA was 3.10 and the average for male students was 2.90 GPA for male students, these both go above the requirements to graduate, and are a full point higher than the average non-athlete GPA. It has also been proven that athletes are more likely to do better in standardized testing. Student athletes do 10% better in Science, English, Math and Social Studies compared to other students, determined by Michigan State University researchers. Athletes are proven to have better grades than non-athletes, so taking away school sports would just make schools academic success lower than it already is.

Athletics can also serve more than a purpose to just sports and academics. They also have positive effects on student’s life. Research by Fitzalan Gorman (Political Health Science writer) has determined that kids who play sports in high school are proven to have better health rates, more parental support, lower drug/alcohol use, and lower dropout rates. Students who play sports are found to have decreased depression and anxiety levels, healthier eating levels, and higher cardiovascular fitness rates. 14 million kids from grades 8-12 who were strongly committed in sports in 2002, did not only test lower in drug usage but also tend to have higher rates in rejecting cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol, researched by the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse. So as you can see taking away school athletics would not only affect the student’s academics but also their personal health.

Many people have the thought of academics not getting enough focus in school due to athletics, and they think the solution is taking away sports completely. This is not the right answer to the problem. It has been proven that schools with sports success also do well in academic success, so by taking away sports you would also take away some children’s motivation to learn. People also tend to have the idea that these athletes have no chance at going professional. Sure, they may not make it to professionals but at least they get to go to college and get an education. The people who have this perception are not looking at the bigger picture of athletics being a gateway to going to college.

As you can see athletics have a very big importance in school, almost as much as academics do. It is clear that athletics can affect your grades either in a negative or positive way depending on how well you do, but removing athletics because the so called “focus” is not there is unnecessary. Eliminating athletics would end up negatively affecting academics hugely. It has been proven in more than one study that athletes vs. non-athletes are more likely to go to college, so taking away sports wouldn’t make sense. Schools that have athletic success also tend to have academic success, which gives the school a better reputation in the district. So overall athletics do more than just positively affect a student’s life, but also the communities.

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