EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Play Ball!?!

In the news around my viewing area a University sports team is trying to make it legal to pay their players and unionize their teams.  I guess the plan would be that the University sports department would no longer support the students tuition or lodging.  Instead, they would make the students employees and it would be up to the students to pay for their tuition and lodging out of their wages.  Okay, I am not sure if that is a good or bad idea but it did get me thinking about sports teams at public institutions.

I went to a pretty blue collar K-12 public school system. I know that it seemed like a lot of emphasis went toward the sports teams that we had. The school district tended to celebrate some of our best sportsball players a little more than some of our smartest students.  I know the school tended to fund the heck out of the football team while the band had to fight just to update the 40 year old marching band outfits they had. I was a young kid so maybe I got the wrong impression but it seemed to me that if you could throw a ball really well you were awesome and if you could design a robot from scratch you were a nerd and ignored.

In my professional adult life I see the clash between sports and education first hand. I think it is revolting to ask an instructor to sign an eligibility form saying the student is passing when they are flat out failing just because they are needed Friday night for the big game (yes, that happens.) I do not think that teams should expect instructors to work around their teams schedules either. How is that fair to the rest of the students in the course who don’t get input into when they get to take an exam? Also, why should we allow these students to turn in assignments late because that past weekend they were traveling to a game? Do it on the bus.

Now please don’t misread that I am a huge hater of sports. I am not. I like hockey. I have to like hockey it is in my Canadian blood. I can hear a puck drop 10 miles away. I just wonder if maybe education should divorce itself from sports.  I know that sometimes when bond issues come up and they want tax payers to pay more money for their schools there have been situations where all of a sudden the “building” improvement portions are brand new stadiums or the like.  Shouldn’t all that money go toward education? Before you think it, no I do not necessarily think it should go to faculty or administration but new books would be nice. Where I live education is hurting bad but hey the cheerleaders have new tiny skirts.

So then how do kids get to play and compete in sports if there is no teams at their school. That is not too difficult to figure out because there are parks and recreation teams that kids belong to that are not associated with the schools. Why not make those programs grow instead? You can still keep the fun and competitiveness of playing sports just instead of East High vs. West High it would be The East City team vs. The West City team.

Again, these thoughts just came into my head.  What do you think? Are sports a necessity to public education? Should teachers be expected to bend the rules for the players of these teams? 

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (ET).

Featured image: Sports Icon by Pepetps


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JoDee is an adjunct faculty instructor of astronomy and physics at various colleges around her hometown in the midwest. When she is not trying to get her cat, Pixel, off of her laptop she is observing variable stars and researching black holes.

1 Comment

  1. April 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm —

    The NCAA is a giant scam, and given how many rich old men there are who got that way off the literally broken bones of poor kids whose futures get ruined for an education they may or may not get, I think John Scalzi’s comments on the subject of pay are accurate.

    As for your question, I think the biggest issue with school sports, is that currently they are done after school, rather than before school. This is bad for the outcomes of every kid. We should be sending kids to classes later, and using sports in the morning to wake them up seems a fantastic idea. Also, having been on those buses for my one year of high school soccer, I would never have been able to get work done, so it seems to me reasonable to give those kids some consideration.

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