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Does Participation in the NCAA Negatively Influence the Academic Performance?

7 pages
1788 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

There are close to a half a million students taking part in a wide range of sports in the US (Grimit, 37). Apparently, most students are introduced into sporting activities at a tender age by their parents with the aim of ensuring that they capitalize on their hobbies. In as much as the parents have always had good intentions regarding the involvement of their children in athletics, several studies have pointed out that the activities are negatively affecting their academic performance. The participation of students in athletic events has been a matter of concern for stakeholders in the education sector. According to a recent study, students who take part in sports have been found to have performed poorly in their academic work (Pascarella, Ernest, et al., 369). Several factors, ranging from academic to nonacademic have an impact on the academic performance of students participating in the NCAA. According to Ridpath et al., (59) researchers have been attempting to explain how participation in NCAA affects the students academic performance. This essay argues that students involvement in the NCAA positively influences their academic performance.

One notable explanation given relates to the role models of students taking part in the NCAA. Ostensibly, studies have revealed that role models activities have a huge influence on how the students will perform academically. For instance, if the role model does not pay close attention to the academic performance of the participating students, it is very likely that they will post poor grades. The phenomenon is attributed to the admiration and respect which the collegiate athletes have on their role models. In this case, the high admiration and respect levels translate to obedience and even emulation. If the role model does not pay any attention to the academic performance of the students athletes, there will be immediate repercussions in the form of reduced performance since the students do not feel obliged to perform.

Besides the irresponsibility on the part of the role model, the collegiate athletes also spend their time training for competitions at their expense of their studies. Maloney and McCormick (1993) surveyed 595 students from Clemson University with the aim of determining the effect of sports participation on academic performance. The investigation revealed that the athletes performed way below their regular peers academically. Specifically, the study indicated that the athletes performed 30% lower as compared to their colleagues. The research also reported that those students who participated in revenue sports such as football and basketball performed far much lower with most earning a tenth of a grade point compared to fellow athletes. Concerns have therefore arisen with critics stating that those students taking part in the paid athletics do not get time to study. Worse still, some individuals have indicated that the collegiate athletes are now being treated as athletic department employees. A similar study by Ridpath et al. (62) on the impact of revenues on student academic performance highlighted adverse effects. For instance, it was revealed that the coaches who take part in the revenue sports are under pressure to perform which makes it impossible for them to focus on the academic development of the students. In other words, the coaches force the students to participate in sports most of their time at the expense of their academics. This phenomenon leads to the deterioration of class performance. The results also revealed that the coaches made the students to take curriculums which were downgraded for the benefit of the student-athletes. According to Ridpath, et al (62) such activities adversely affected the quality of education received by the students.

Conversely, those in support of the students involvement in athletics have given myriads of reasons which far outweighs the negative effects. For instance, research has revealed that participation in sports impacts positively on development and learning. One important research conducted on junior high school students revealed that the participation of students in athletics motivated them academically. The study which was conducted on 379 students from Tennessee showed that up to 70% of the students were motivated to attend school frequently by the participation in athletic activities. An additional 71% stated that participation in athletic activities improved their time management skills. In as much as participating in the sports is time-consuming and may be wasteful as indicated above, students are made to stay in school and participate in learning when athletics is not taking place. In other words, during athletics offseason, the collegiate athletes are made to take part in academic activities which is a prerequisite for them to take part in athletics that they love. Apparently, the ability for the students to participate in the NCAA and still to be able to graduate makes them more prepared to handle different challenges in life. In other words, the participation both curricula and co-curricular activities make the students more prepared as opposed to focusing on just one aspect. In line with this assertion, parents have learned to be content with their children who may fail to perform well academically but still manage to perform in athletics. This phenomenon represents a change in mindset where the parents recognize that their children can still achieve the best in life even without academic excellence. The above assertions were revealed in a study carried out by Byrd and Ross on teachers, parents, and coaches of students from Tennessee. Some of the reasons given by the parents as to why they enroll their children in sports include; physical fitness, addressing racial prejudices, improving their childrens participation in school activities and improving their revenue and earnings. Seemingly the participation in athletics enables the students to meet new people, make new friends and develop their confidence and interpersonal relationship. According to Byrd and Ross, the above-highlighted factors allows the students to lead a lifestyle which acceptable in the contemporary society.

Additionally, studies have found a relationship between participation in athletics and non-cognitive development. The survey conducted by Terenzini, (623) showed that the collegiate athletes were more satisfied with their college life and hence more likely to complete their studies as stipulated. Specifically, the participation of the said students in athletics was their primary motivation for staying in school and completing their degree. Further, it was revealed that the student-athletes were motivated to produce good grades to keep their participation in the athletic teams. A similar study conducted on the students in their first year of college showed that their involvement in athletics made them feel at home. In other words, the participation in sports for the first years was their primary source of comfort and satisfaction with the college life. This factor led to their improved performance and stay in college.

In regards to motivation and the impact of role models on students academic performance, it has been revealed that the coaches do not have much influence. A survey conducted by Grimit, Nicole (71) highlighted the fact that students depended on personal motivation as opposed to motivation from the coaches. Therefore the perceived influence of coaches in the revenue sports is low. Apparently, this assertion validates Vrooms Expectancy Theory as attributed to the fact that most student-athletes rely on individual responsibility. The above assertion was also reflected in a survey carried by Connery. In the study, it was shown that the athletes had higher academic motivation as compared to the non-athletes. Apparently, academic motivation has always been associated with academic performance. In this case, the students who participated in athletics were found to perform better in their academics. Montecalbo-Ignacio et al. also arrived at similar conclusions regarding the relationship between academic performance and participation in athletics. In the survey which compared the number of years participated in athletes to the academic performance, Montecalbo-Ignacio et al. concluded that the two factors were positively related. In other words, the more the years the student participated in sports, the higher their academic performance. Therefore the author concluded that participation in sport heightened the students competitiveness not only in terms of sports but also in academics. Furthermore, the survey also made it clear regarding the connection between learning efficiency and sports. According to Montecalbo-Ignacio et al. the students who took part in games were more efficient in their learning as compared to those who did not take part in the exercise. Consequently, those who took part in competitions had better grades. In comparison between the male student-athletes and the female student-athletes, the latter were found to have better grades.

Further, the latest research on the relationship between participation in athletics and academics indicates that positive correlation. In other words, those who participate in athletics tend to perform better as compared to those who did not take part in the activities. The survey which was conducted by Connery, (33) contradicted previous studies which had indicated that those who participated in sports had poor academic performance. The study also showed that other factors contributed to the discrepancies in performance between those who took part in the exercise and those who did not take part. For instance, the female student-athletes were discovered to perform better as compared to the female students who did not take part in athletics. In general, the survey by Connery (33) indicated better performance in the case of student-athletes. For example, the study revealed that athletes posted a score of 8.41 as compared to the non-athletes who had a score of 7.72 on the CSEI. The difference in the two groups was a clear indicator that the student-athletes have higher self-efficacy levels as compared to the non-athletes.

From the above-highlighted discussion, it is clear that students participation in sports has emerged as one of the most critical factors. Contrary to views held before regarding sports, it has now emerged that the activities are an active booster of student competitiveness. For instance, as highlighted in the analysis the longer one took in athletics, the higher the grades that they were likely to get. Apparently, such surveys put to rest previous studies which had indicated that sports led to poor academic performance. It is therefore imperative for the stakeholders in the education industry to encourage students to take part in co-curricular activities such as athletics. Such a measure is bound to improve the academic performance of the students apart from improving their overall health. Consequently, the society will benefit from all rounded members who can address the various emerging challenges.


Works cited

Connery, Mikala. "Sports involvement and academic functioning in college students." (2017).

Grimit, Nicole. "Effects of Student Athletics on Academic Performance." The Journal of Undergraduate Research 12.1 (2014): 5.

Maloney, Michael T., and Robert E. McCormick. "An examination of the role that intercollegiate athletic participation plays in academic achievement: Athletes' feats in the classroom." Journal of Human Resources (1993): 555-570.

Montecalbo-Ignacio, Rona C., Rodolfo A. Ignacio III, and Merites M. Buot. "Academic Achievement as Influenced by Sports Participation in Selected Universities in the Philippines." Education 7.3 (2017): 53-

Pascarella, Ernest T.,...

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