SPORT - USA
so often take the greatest number of medals, if American
scientists and thinkers win so many Nobel prizes and other awards,
and American businesses dominate the world, it is largely down to one
Since the days of the
pioneers, competition has been at the heart of the American way of
life; and in today's USA, there are probably few areas where the
competitive spirit is stronger than in the world of colleges and
institutions is intense, and nowhere is this more true than on the
sports field. Successful sports teams can be enormous assets
to a college's reputation and public image, which explains why many go
to incredible lengths to attract and recruit top high-school athletes.
There is a growing
feeling, however, that in many cases they go too far. Recent media
reports have focused on the extremely high drop-out
rate among college sports scholars. While some abandon their education
to take up lucrative
professional contracts, most leave college with no degree, and no hope
of entering the elite world of professional sport either. Pressured to achieve
results in their sport, many have had no option but to put academic
the back burner.
Their situation was
recently highlighted by Rep.
Ron Wilson, a Texas Democrat, who claims that colleges and universities
are cheating many student
athletes of a proper education.
them in with all kinds of promises of fame and fortune, they get them
at university, and then only one out of ten of them graduates," he
said. "The system doesn't really care about them."
system does care about, on the other hand, is money. College sport is
big money in the USA, and the prestige attached to high performance
athletes, and the colleges they represent, is enormous. NCAA (National
College Athletic Association) rules state clearly that all college
athletes must be amateurs, yet college sport is a multi-billion dollar
business. Though it is registered as a tax-exempt
charity, the NCAA itself had a budget of 5.64 billion dollars in 2007.
major source of income for the NCAA is a $6 billion college
basketball contract with CBS television, an 11-year deal signed in
expensive contracts have drawn a lot of criticism. Faculty members in
many colleges have complained of the enormous sums of money spent on
extensive high-quality sports facilities; and many students are
increasingly bitter about the favors bestowed
upon college sports champions.
a high school, not a university, the notorious 1999 massacre at
Columbine High School was all about sport. One of the reasons that led
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to go on their killing spree
was their resentment at the
privileges and status enjoyed by the "jocks", the heroes of the
school's sports teams. Had they waited a year or two, Harris and
Klebold might have emptied their guns on a university campus, not in a
the role and status of college athletes is one that preoccupies many
students, athletes or not. It only takes a few minutes' searching on
the Internet to turn up sites and discussion groups on the subject. The
biggest issue right now seems to be the question of whether college
athletes should be paid, like professionals.
quite clear on this point. Apart from their sports scholarships,
college athletes are not allowed to "receive any salary, incentive
payment, award, gratuity, educational expenses or expense allowances"
nor "use athletics skills for pay in any form". In reality, the
situation is often very different, with many high-performance college
athletes receiving undeclared benefits including free prestige cars
(such as a BMW) and free housing.
on Internet forums, most college athletes think they deserve
to be paid. Robert Krot, a basketball scholar, wrote: "I play college
basketball, and I barely
have time to do anything. There is no way I
could hold a job. I don't come from a wealthy background, so I have to
make do with what I have. College athletes should be paid."
called Joss, disagrees; "The value of money is far greater than you
think, it can mess up your mind. I know, because I play basketball; but
you know, what I am also trying to become is a microbiologist, because
I know I am not guaranteed to be drafted
into the NBA."
in the years to
come, college athletes do get the right to benefit from professional
sponsorship, few people will be terribly surprised. Corporate
sponsorship of university laboratories has helped the USA become world
leader in scientific research. Corporate sponsorship of college sport
is just another step in the same direction..... or at least, that is
what some people say.
or woman award
prize - asset
advantage - drop-ou
: failure - lucrative
profitable - achieve
obtain - put on the back
: give low priority to - highlight
point out, show - Rep
Representative, member of Congress : cheating
dishonest - entice
not having to
pay tax bestow
place - spree
adventure - resentment
indignation - allowances
money given - barely
: hardly - draft
for the Firefox
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College sport USA
the following sentence,
using the framework suggested:
Original: Thanks to
developed system of scholarships, grants and bank loans, the large
majority of young Americans who have the wish and the ability to go on
to higher education can do so.
Rephrased version: As the system
young Americans ................................ , as long as they
................................... and are able to do so.
class, or for
homework: have students contract this article to about half
the original length.
In class, or for homework: Students should imagine that they
have just gone to study for a year at the University of Michigan. They
have been there for two weeks now, have had time to get settled and
start going to courses (in the subject of their choice). They should
write a long letter (250 - 400 words) in English, to a friend at home.
The letter should contain at least six of the following words.
campus , sport, drop-out, athlete, team, stadium,