With March Madness coming up, the hubbub that surrounds college sports will soon be upon us -- and "madness" is just the right word to describe it. With overly-involved, excitable parents, money-grubbing college sports executives, crazy fans, and athletes playing their hearts out, perhaps hoping to one day be a part of the pros, one might ask whether the excitement that characterizes college sports is a positive thing for those involved.
Mark Yost thinks not. Author of Varsity Green, Yost was recently interviewed on NPR's Marketplace and WBUR's Only a Game about corruption in college sports. From the profit motivations that drive many college sports programs to the unrealistic ideas fostered by parents and students about their sports careers, Yost explains how corruption can affect the lives of the athletes. "It's about the money, it's about this billion dollar machine that parents willingly feed their kids into everyday. And this idea that athletics is their way out of the ghetto or off the farm. And the reality is that that's not true." - Yost, Marketplace Interview
He goes on the explain that 97% of kids who go on to play college sports will not make it into the pro-league, whether it's basketball, football, or any other sport. Many times these kids are left without an option, "they come out with 60 credits, and they don't know how to read or think."
Yost emphasizes that colleges should not undermine the education given to athletes (even the stars on the teams) as it is going to be valuable in the long run. Excelling in sports should not come at the cost of a good education.