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Wednesday, September 20, 2023


Better athletics means worsening education

Despite the rainy conditions, 29,565 fans showed up to support the Cougars on Halloween night. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

With the copious amounts of money poured into athletics, columnist Caprice Carter argues that normal students aren’t getting the support from universities they need. | File photo/The Cougar

With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games well underway and the U.S. a veritable force to be reckoned with, it is a perfect example of why our nation is behind in education.

The U.S. doubtlessly dominates in almost every area, from the “Final Five” in gymnastics led by the first-time gold medalist, Simone Biles, to swimming trailblazers like Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.

Team USA has expeditiously put their best foot forward and reaped the rewards.

When it comes to athletics, the U.S. is a metaphorical giant. But on the topic of education, many in the States are scratching their heads.

Pearson showed that, as of 2014, the U.S. ranks 11th in cognitive skills and 20th in educational attainment. Overall, our country comes in as the 14th best country for education.

Considering that this is on a scale of 40 countries, it doesn’t seem so bad. For a country that integrates competitiveness into everyday society, it’s an ink stain on a white shirt.

Fair Reporter also weighs in on education, knocking the U.S. down to No. 29 for countries ranked by math and science results.

In cities nationwide, athletics have become a lucrative business in which Americans spend an exorbitant amount of money to attend, gamble on and participate in.

The Huffington Post revealed that 29 of the NFL’s 31 stadiums received public funding i.e. taxpayer money to renovate stadiums, which amounted to over roughly $3 billion.

In 2015, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker slashed $250 million from the University of Wisconsin in order to build an arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. His decision is the perfect example of the U.S. and how it prioritizes education.

USA Today showed Division I schools spent over $90,000 per athlete and only $13,000 on the average student. Division I schools without football spent $39,000 per athlete, more than triple the average student spending.

While the country’s obsession with sports isn’t the only reason for the lag in education, the economics of it provides a pretty steep curve.

There is a staggering amount of money being spent on schools every year, but not where it would count the most. The average college professor makes $58,000 annually, while an NCAA coach makes over $100,000 at the least.

Sports is an equal opportunity activity that brings in enough revenue to keep a nation running, but at the cost to thousands of teachers and students.

What could be used to maintain schools, raise instructor salaries and provide students with advanced technology that will aid in learning is used instead for traveling expenses, equipment, stadiums and coach salaries.  

Athletics is pushed to the point of mania in the U.S. while students weather eight hours of outdated material Monday through Friday. And they still leave scratching their heads.

The best education can be found in private schools and Ivy League universities where the tuition is unaffordable and the rate of acceptance is low.

The value put into athletics versus education is readily apparent in how far more advanced our athletes are. It is, however, far enough down the ranks that if educational Olympics were a thing, team USA wouldn’t even qualify.

Opinion Columnist Caprice Carter is a communication junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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