There is a lot of change broiling around the NCAA it would seem. There are constant challenges and questions asked of the organization’s status quo. Players are pushing for more rights and there is certainly more awareness now for what life is like for a student athlete. And thoughts on how to improve it.
There are a number of hot-button issues surrounding the NCAA these days. From scholarship length, to recruiting violations to the big one — pay for student athletes. These issues have taken on a focus and urgency within the college sports community.
Even some recently graduated players recognize some of the big issues facing college student athletes.
Jon Solomon of CBS Sports empaneled a group of former SEC players across different sports to get their opinions of various issues facing student athletes.
The biggest one that seems to come up is preparing student athletes for life after sports. As the NCAA ads always say, most of those student athletes will major in something other than sports.
“I see a lot of guys who don’t have the opportunities that they need to go out and look for jobs or develop themselves for a career besides just being an athlete,” former Mississippi State captain and safety Jay Hughes said. “I had teammates who didn’t even know how to fill out a checking deposit slip at the bank. … First of all, they have to pick a major they’re actually interested in. Some guys just pick a major because it’s easy. When they get done playing, they have this degree sitting there and they can’t do anything with it.
“I take myself, as an example. I went to Mississippi State, which is a big engineering school. I wanted to be an electrical engineer so I could help my grandfather out with his radio station. I felt like I wouldn’t have the right amount of time to study. I ended up majoring in history. I don’t really have many regrets. I love history, but there’s really not a whole lot you can do with history.”
This is a common criticism of the student-athlete experience. Oftentimes there is such an overcommitment to the team that academics do take a back seat. Players who want to take more challenging majors are unable to because of practice schedules and commitments to the team.
Summers often are spent on campus working out with the team rather than taking internships and doing job preparedness.
Clearly the SEC and the NCAA have taken steps forward. They are involving student athletes more on these kind of discussions and decisions.
There are real discussions going on about how much time student athletes spend with their teams and creating better balance.
Then again, it is also hard to find that balance with so many players wanting to do more and play for their teams. These will be discussions that will be continuing within the NCAA for a long time.