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Schools Focus on athletics becoming detrimental to funding for extracurriculars and academics

It is no doubt that America values its sports more than other countries; especially when it comes to college and professional level athletics.  

However, the amount of money that is being used for sports, specifically football and basketball, has overshadowed other sports and extracurriculars. The world’s smartest countries focus more on academics and let athletics become a pastime for their students.  

Many of those that come abroad to study in America are fascinated by the dedication that American’s put into sports. This is not to say those countries to not participate in sports, but on a less aggressive level than the United States.  

Although sports can make schools more fun and exciting, they also give the students a sense of false priorities. Grades are not everything, but neither are sports.  

At the high school and college level, sports are more of a big deal than in middle or grade school and that is usually when athletes peak in their career.  

College is also where dedicated academic programs have the room to provide athletes with the education they may have not received in high school. Though some lack motivation and the background, they are given the support to continue in sports and get better grades.   

Movies and TV shows factor in a big part of the war between athletics and academics. Smart students are portrayed as nerdy, weird, and unpopular whereas athletes are cool and have the most friends but are less successful when it comes to academics.  

These two social groups clash with one another repeatedly throughout the history of movies and TV shows, showing a stereotype that still lingers in schools to this day.  This may be why students do not mind when their school newspapers devote more pages and articles to athletics and advertise it more often. 

Erin Shortell, reporter for Harvard Politics, said in an article about sports and educations, “Nerdy athletes and athletic nerds are virtually nonexistent.” 

This is true in that yes, there are athletes who also value their grades, but there is also a vast majority that fall behind in their work due to their respective sport.  

Televised sporting events like the Superbowl and World Series draw many viewers at home and in the arena and contribute to this growing problem. In 2019, approximately 98.2 million people watched the Superbowl according to statista.com. Even though 2018’s ratings were higher by 5.2 million people, this is still a lot of coverage.  

Athletic departments spend more money on football without minding students and other academics and the funding they would need to keep programs running. But, schools would not have other sports without football and basketball because they bring in the most money from the community and alumni.  

An article by Forbes said, “the vast majority of sports lose money but are kept afloat thanks to football and basketball profits.”  

Schools need sports to function in the way they wish to, but the ideology behind the obsession for it does not allow other areas of a school to shine which is why there should be a healthy balance between the two that allows students of all backgrounds of knowledge to be valued.

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