mission of the institution is to educate students, the visibility and revenues
associated with success in sports may be important factors in building com-
munity on campus as well as generating revenues and attracting financial
support from donors and alumni. Success in sports may burnish– even de-
fine –an institution’s reputation and brand. Certain schools – especially state
universities –are known for perennially strong teams: Oklahoma, Alabama,
and Florida in football, for example; Kentucky, North Carolina, and Indiana
in men’s basketball; Tennessee and Connecticut in women’s basketball; or
Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas in many sports.
The money associated with successful teams in major sports such as football
and men’s basketball often sparks controversy on college campuses reflec-
tive of the underlying tension. Faculty in the traditional academic disciplines
often call attention to the discordant values of education and money-making
sport, or question high salaries in the athletic department. Another common
concern is rooted in the widespread perception of “different” (i.e. “lower”) stan-
dards for admission of, and academic performance by, prominent athletes. On
the other side, some alumni groups or booster organisations seem to care
far more about athletic than academic success and may subsidise sports pro-
grammes disproportionately, even illegally. Meanwhile, student-athletes and
their families and friends may wonder about the distribution of the financial
gains –given the revenues they help generate, why shouldn’t student-athletes
share in the rewards?
For their part, NCAA and university administrators
argue that few athletic departments in America generate surplus revenue
and that income from the major sports is consumed in underwriting sports
scholarships, minor sports, and women’s teams, which tend to have relatively
small followings.
A third distinctive feature of intercollegiate sports is the ethic of amateurism,
or the notion that sport is more about the game than the prize, more about
social than economic values. As the NCAA puts it, leaders of the association
have consistently believed that “participation in intercollegiate athletics is
part of the higher education experience and teaches values that are difficult to
learn in the classroom. Student-athletes must, therefore, be students first.”
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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