RMU Proclamation: The Student-Athlete is extinct

Former President Theodore Roosevelt wanted a reform of the college football landscape during his time in the White House. Thus, the National Collegiate Athletic Association was born. Since the 1930’s, college sports and universities have never been more turbulent.

With sports, comes money. The more money that surfaces in the bank account of a university, a multitude of smiles will be shared within the “front office” of each institution. AC/DC said it the correct way, “Money talks.”

This just happened at Robert Morris actually. Just before the first semester ended in 2013, the athletic department recently cut seven sports. They are listed below:

  1. Men’s Cross-Country
  2. Women’s Cross-Country
  3. Women’s Golf
  4. Field Hockey
  5. Men’s Indoor Track and Field
  6. Men’s Outdoor Track and Field
  7. Men’s Tennis

One of the key reasons for the cuts was to be compliant with the Title IX rule that was instated in the 1972. So, Athletic Director Craig Coleman had to cut the sports, so they could remain within the regulations. With the cuts, RMU is now left with 16 NCAA Division I sports. They were one of the only universities with more than 16 NCAA Division I programs.

Another reason, not nearly as publicized, deals with something much more prevalent to society. I believe the proper term is “dollar signs.”

Men’s basketball, football and men’s hockey are the three most popular and profitable sports on Colonial soil. Multiple regular season championships, matchups against North Dakota State and Kentucky have brought in a ton of revenue. Not to mention, RMU hockey’s association with Three Rivers Classic is a lot of PR for the sport.

That isn’t the problem though when it comes to collegiate athletics. Think of it on an intellectual and ethical standard.

Let’s not dance around the fact presented with every single university or college sports team; the grades don’t matter anymore. Education has never been less important than it is today. Even through the recent surge in training, the young minds of America have been forced to carry on the tradition and success of the former generations, and it isn’t working to their liking.

Sports have changed the world and will continue to revolutionize modern-day activities and experiences. However, people are losing touch with what is truly important in life. Education will get you somewhere at the end of the day, while sports are only a hobby, and the select few garner a career out of it.

There are countless examples of athletes that skip class, and get away with it. That 2.0 GPA must remain in-balance for an athlete to continue playing college athletics. Trust me, a 2.o GPA isn’t difficult to keep. I have witnessed students show up for the midterm and final, then talking to the professor about their situation and getting a free pass.

Ethically speaking, where is the moral of the story? Is that not taught anymore? Who is letting the athletes portray a fake attitude?

At a small institution such as Robert Morris, this act is not quite as seen at the level of bigger schools like Penn State or Pitt. In fact, give the Colonials some credit: many athletes on campus here have very high scores and are honored academically by the NCAA annually.

Talking with former students at various universities proves the theory. An anonymous source stated that a professor rooted for the football team so much, that he would give the answers to the athlete without a moment’s notice. In fact, during the final exam, the anonymous athlete would cheat during the test. The professor would just look away.

Has society brought with it laziness and a perturbed stance against education as the key source to a good job?

Maybe the American dream isn’t about hard work, rather taking the easy way out.

A new development has taken place in the world of college football. Roosevelt’s vision of the landscape football has taken was not in his plans, or even dreams. With the talk of players starting to get paid for playing, how are they technically student-athletes?

The student-athlete is defined as a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled. It does not incorporate any payment to the athletes. Every university or college is paying for the player to perform at his or her respective school through scholarships. Most high-profile players go to school for free, other than books and small costs such as that.

Don’t get me wrong, being an athlete for a NCAA Division I program is very hard work and emulates a full-time job scenario, but then are they still student-athletes?

Performers are losing sight as to what is important. According to the Georgia Career Information Center at Georgia State University, one in every 16,000 high school athletes attains a profession in sports. You can check out the full link here.

With that said, academics are very important to secure athletes a job after college. Not everyone can be a Lebron James or Adrian Peterson. They are once-in-a-lifetime players.

Much like the Dodo bird and chivalry, the once-illustrious student-athlete is extinct. No more is education the first priority of the average player. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of all men being created equal. He was one of the educated revolutionists in an era of oppression and sadness. Day after day the world is moving towards that dream coming true.

2014 will bring another year of movement and change. College athletics, as it rears its ugly head toward the limelight of business and politics, is in its transition period, to which we may see the NCAA lose all power and integrity.

Let’s not keep that consistent. Open a book and have a plan B.