A Degree in Jock Studies (Don’t Laugh)

A professor at Florida State suggests a way to overcome the corruption in college sports, especially its habit of channeling athletes into easy majors, sometimes with fake classes. His solution: Create a major in sports performance.

This actually intrigues me — it’s a new way of addressing the problem of athletes who are not well-prepared for college and who spend most of their time training. (Certainly, nothing else seems to work.)

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, David Pargman even lays out the courses students would take. They would spend the first two years getting basic general education and then start their junior year with classes like these:

  • Junior year, first semester: anatomy and physiology; educational psychology (introduction to learning theory); laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies (scrimmage).

  • Junior year, second semester: introduction to sports psychology; introduction to physiology of exercise; laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage); health education.

The senior year would be similar.

The good thing is that this would be more honest. And, says Pargman, it is really not much different from a degree in theatre or dance. There would perhaps be some abuses, and the level of schooling might earn some ridicule, but by providing a major that actually interested athletes, they might become good students as well. It might be worth a try.

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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