I would find it hard to even justify the support of big-time sports in college, let alone paying the students competing in them.
From The Game of Life, a review encompassing top-tier public and private school’s athletics:
- Athletes have lower SAT scores and attain lower grades, and their involvement in sport does not justify their lower performance. Students with extracurricular activities attain higher grades while spending more time on those activities.
- Most sports teams actually lose money, and although some schools earn money, many of those only seem to do so because the colleges and universities provide direct and indirect monetary support, either as funding for support activities, or by providing services directly.
- Athletes give very little as alumni. A review of top donors would find high academic performers, those with incomes over $150,000, and those admitted as children of alumni, as the strongest contributors.
- Additionally, removing support for athletics would not negatively effect minority enrollment.
Personally, I feel anger when I see that my alma mater, Rutgers University, expends so much energy on football and its ilk. The school’s money would be so much more effectively spent on academic activities, and I assume Rutgers’ slide in college rankings indicates the decreasing emphasis on the intellectual life that should be its primary focus.