Regarding the March 14 Point of View “What really matters in college sports”: Kevin White and Bob Bowlsby argued that athletics are part of “the fabric of American higher education” and that the leadership and other skills that athletes develop are central to their education.
Here are some ways to take this premise to new levels: Building on its success in infusing the concept of “student-athletes” into the vernacular, the marketing department of the NCAA could promote the virtues of “athlete-students” who spend far more time on their sports than on academics. Colleges could award academic credit for participation in inter-collegiate athletics. Grades would reflect won and lost records, with extra credit for championships and individual honors such as All-American.
Students could major in a sport. They could then minor in an academic subject or opt for a double major such as football-anthropology or fencing-philosophy.
There is, of course, the matter of diminishing returns. It’s not clear that athletes who devote 30-plus hours a week to their sport develop any more life skills than students who spend five hours a week on a club sport.
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But the philosopher-kings who rule the NCAA can surely devise a semantic solution to this challenge.
Edward B. Fiske
The writer contributes to the Fiske Guide to Colleges.