The relationship between education and athletics in the United States has become so deeply rooted that many end up thinking that the relationship is perfect and entirely right. Collegiate athletics have been around for a long time and consequently become part of education system in America. Athletics is thus a natural part of what happens in the education institutions. Many prominent institutions in the United States like Harvard, the University of Chicago and Yale have acknowledged the importance of developing college athletics. Collegiate athletics have however been marred with a big collection of problems. Students have had to take long periods out of class to attend tournaments (Parham 418).
Drug and substance abuse has also been viewed as one of the major problems facing collegiate athletics. Student- athletes are particularly at risk of engaging in this engaging in this bad act. There is also a lot of anxiety associated with the students who are athletes. They are forced to live under pressure of perfection. There has also been an issue on the mental and physical health of the student-athletes. The relationship between the athletes and the rest of the student body is also found to be quite stressful (Tricker 160).
Another major problem that has dealt a blow to collegiate athletics is the mental health concern of the student-athletes. Contrary to knowledge that participation in athletics is a remedy to stress, participation in athletics can also be a source of additional stress. Athletes are faced with unique stressors relating to their status as student-athletes for instance; injuries, loss of ‘star’ status, being repeatedly benched in freshman years, excessive academic demands to be met, pressure to be winners and conflicts with coaches. Combination of these stressors has been found to have negative effects on the well-being of the student athletes. College athletes who are faced with high stress levels are likely to have poor health practices and to ultimately psychological problems (Hudd et al 225).
Another problem arises because the student-athletes are unable to properly relate with other people. Athletes have reported problems of weak relationships with fellow students, teachers and even the coaches (Humphrey et al). They tend to have a certain imagination of how they ought to be treated by people around them. This becomes a big problem because they might want to be treated highly by others whereas others just see them as normal people in school. This gives the athletes a bad perception of their surrounding and those around them also tend to have a negative image about them.
In addition, participation in collegiate athletics has been found to negative effects on the student-athletes’ cognitive learning. Participation either has negative association or totally no effect on the students’ motivation in academics, learning ability and development. Students who do not participate in collegiate athletics usually have better GPAs than their counterparts involved in athletics. This is attributed to the time lost when athletes have to travel for competitions and tournaments (Humphrey et al).
A more difficult problem to that has proved a hard nut to crack is the termination of the athletic careers of the students. Many student-athletes tend to believe that they have the ability to venture into professional athletics even when it is very clear that launching professional careers in athletics might not be an option for them. It is difficult for a student-athlete to move on and redefine his identity. Many commonly experience the post-termination phase in denial, a feeling of anxiety and fear. For most that launched their identity through exclusively through athletics, dread the life after school (Parham 413).
Transition to college from high school is also stressful to students. Student-athletes however will be faced with greater levels of stress because of the multiple demands that face them both in academics and in athletics. Freshmen especially tend to be overburdened by the pressure and the stressors of the transition period. The demands at times prove to be too difficult and overwhelming for freshmen to handle (Hudd et al 219).
It is important to establish the different sources of stresses for student-athletes because they are at high risks in terms of academics. University student-athletes need to be taken care of to save collegiate athletics and to make sure they are well coordinated. Prevention programmes need are to be formulated and implemented to help the freshmen to cope with dealing with the potential stress sources (Humphrey et al).
Parham, W. The intercollegiate athlete: A 1990's profile. The Counselling Psychologist, (1993), 411-429.
Tricker, R., Cook, D. L., & McGuire, R.Issues related to drug abuse in college athletics: Athletes at risk. The Sport Psychologist (2009), 155-165.
Hudd, S., Dumlao, J., Erdmann-Sager, D., Murray, D., Phan, E., Soukas, Stress at college: Effects on health habits, health status and self-esteem ( 2009). College Student Journal, 217-227.
Humphrey, J. H., Yow, D. A. & Bowden, W. W. Stress in college athletics: Causes, consequences, coping (2000). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Half-Court Press .