To Play or Not to Play: Sports at the Collegiate Level


Emily Kay

A pair of Cavaliers hold a recreational game of basketball during their Team Sports period on Sep. 5, 2018.

Daniel Toll, Sports Editor

Prior to the 1960s, the sports world was a mere shell of what it has become today. As television networks started investing millions of dollars into the industry, sports have become much more than just a source of entertainment. Today, over 45 million children in the United States alone are involved in a sport and with the remarkable advancements that the sports world has made over the last half of a century, today’s young athletes are left with a difficult decision. As their college years near, aspiring athletes must place a great deal of consideration in determining whether or not they should devote their time, effort and talents to a sport. There are obviously risks and sacrifices that must be made, but because of the several benefits of playing a college sport can have on athletes, it should be encouraged to participate in them.

It is understandable that many contemplate playing in college, as being involved in sports sprouts many benefits for all parties involved. These benefits, however, directly depend on the goals of the athlete and the factors that motivate them to play. For athletes that are striving to play at the professional level, college serves as a perfect stepping stone in their path to being drafted by a team in an established sports league, like the National Football League (NFL). While in college, athletes sharpen their abilities to make themselves as attractive as possible to scouts looking to sign players for their teams. The reward for their hard work, if drafted, is a contract and salary worth an incredible amount of money and the chance to play their favorite sport for a living. Additionally, playing a sport in college can provide individuals with valuable scholarship opportunities that can cover a significant part of the cost of attendance. Participation in sports can also influence academic performance, as athletes aim to keep their scholarships by maintaining a strong grade point average. In the case of college sports, some of the most profound benefits are the least superficial. For those that do not aim to reach the professional level, playing a sport in college can play a significant role in stress relief and the development of new relationships between teammates on and off the field.

“If someone has the opportunity to play sports in college, they should not pass it up. Playing a sport in college forces you to be mature, organized, and grounded. These skills are essential when we step out into the real world,” junior Juliana Bonavita said.

However, there are some drawbacks that are important to acknowledge when considering participation in collegiate sports. The full commitment can often result in student-athletes having little to no free time. The vigor of classes in college and a commitment to a sport can prove to be overwhelming if not managed properly. Furthermore, many athletes may place their sport as a priority above their studies, which can ultimately degrade the quality of their education. The result of this creates a domino effect in which depression and stress can develop among athletes as a result of an increased workload and high expectations.

“I’m not entirely sure if I want to play a sport in college. It might be a fun experience, but I think that juggling two commitments at the same time can be really difficult for any student-athlete,” junior Eduardo Caldera said.

There are several factors to acknowledge when deciding whether or not to play a sport at the collegiate level. Although it could be overwhelming and stressful, the benefits of it significantly outweigh the drawbacks. Whether the motivating factor to play in college is to eventually play the sport as a professional, to receive financial support throughout college or to enrich one’s college experience, participating in a college sport is definitely something worth trying.

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