College sports, with their huge TV contracts, grand stadia, and high-salaried coaches, are a money-soaked business. But the National Collegiate Athletic Association still insists on its tired trope of the “student-athlete.”
To everyone else, it’s increasingly clear that too many universities are neglecting their primary duty of educating students in the face of big-money athletics. Sports headlines trundle from one school’s crisis of dishonesty to the other’s. University administrators are incentivized to look the other way from scandals — such as sleazy recruitment and fake classes for athletes.
The greatest disservice is done to the athletes, only 1 percent of whom play professionally. They are often clustered in identical, less-rigorous majors, no matter what their interests, and steered away from time-intensive courses.
All of this undercuts the professed mission of the NCAA. Amateur college sports seem increasingly pre-professional. Student athletes need to be just as driven by their studies as by their sports.