Un site du Groupe IGS
Le blog de l'ABS Paris

The importance of sport in American universities

Youth is synonymous with energy, both mental and physical. While a big part of this energy is expended in studying, organized and informal sport activities provide students with an opportunity to learn the value of fair play, to achieve goals and more importantly, to have fun!

One billion awarded in athletic scholarships every year

In American universities, the most popular sports for boys are American football, basketball, track and field, baseball and soccer. For girls, basketball takes the lead ahead of volleyball and softball. As a result of an American law that encourages women to take part in athletics in college and university, girls’ participation has increased by 800% over the past 30 years.  Sports also play a crucial role in the everyday social scene both in the intercollegiate (organized competition) and intramural (less competitive) levels. American universities offer sports scholarships to students who are both academically qualified and skilled in a particular sport, especially in basketball and American football.

From another angle, playing for a team on scholarship is one way students help pay the cost of studies. Each year, about one billion dollars are awarded through the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCA) to over 200 000 students-athletes.

The issue of big-time college sport…

That being said, big-time college sport has been an insistent issue of American higher education for more than a century. In fact, instead of being the part time student activity that universities often imply that is, sport has become a central element of the universities. It is no secret for American students that big-time sport has frequently been criticized as being at odds with the proper aims of universities. “There’s too much identification of a university with non-academic aspects, distracting from values of higher education and from desirable values in society”, said an unidentified president of Football Bowl Subdivision university in 2009…