Ralph Nader wants to put an end to those pesky college athletic scholarships.
Why? Nader says he wants to "de-professionalize" college athletics.
Okay Ralph, I get the problems with the athletic scholarships, particularly in men's basketball and football. I understand that some NCAA sports are full time jobs. I'm sure anyone that plays Duke basketball will back me up here. I understand that there are some shady goings on with college athletes accepting money. I can sympathize that some people who get college scholarships for crew or golf or tennis might not qualify for anything remotely need based, but I would still argue that the merit based athletic scholarship does more good than harm.
For a lot of kids a sports scholarship is their best shot to escape poverty.
Either that or dealing drugs.
And no, I am not overstating things. You see it all the time. How many NFL or NBA players grew up in the ghetto? How many of them would be playing professional sports without being recruited out of college? And how many more (easily 90%) of kids that received some higher education because of an athletic scholarship have a professional career outside of sports that they would not have qualified for without a degree?
Ralph Nader is proposing that the current scholarships be replaced with need based scholarships.
So do we also get rid of the scholarships for students with exceptional grades and test scores?
I agree that we could improve the system. I honestly believe that some college athletes should be paid, but that is a post for a different time. For now, I say that eliminating all talent based athletic scholarships would be tragic for the young people that work so hard to excel in their sport.
I don't hate Ralph Nader. Sometimes he has really good ideas. This is not one of them. Should there be more need based college scholarships available? Yes. Should we eliminate financial assistance for athletes across the board. No.
- Suzanne Schaffer, Education Today: Is Eliminating Athletic Scholarships March Madness?
- Liz Dwyer, Good Education: Extra Credit: Ralph Nader Wants to End Athletic Scholarships
Photo Credit: Ohio State vs Penn State on November 13, 2010; Jenna Hatfield.
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