Essentially, Americans believe that schools with a “professional-type sports programs” are putting pressure on other schools to join in. Moreover, people believe that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) policies are skewed toward benefiting “big-time programs” over all other programs.
A Lack of Equity
Notably, the poll revealed that only 24 percent of Americans believe that schools with big time sports programs maintain an adequate balance between athletics and academics. A significant 67 percent concurs that such schools overemphasize their sports programs.
Concerning academic institutions without prominent sports programs, precisely one half of the those surveyed believe that such schools strike the right balance between sports and academics. Yet, 38 percent still find that these very same schools “place too much emphasis on sports.”
The sentiment against college sports is greater amongst those that have completed their college education. Some 71 percent of alumni believe that institutions with high-profile sports programs do not strike the right balance between athletics and academics. At the same time, 58 percent presume that other colleges and universities successfully harmonize sports with learning.
Athletics Versus Academics
“Americans are in love with big-time college sports, but as the Monmouth poll makes clear, they also recognize that many institutes of higher education are not properly balancing the important mix of athletics and academics,” said Dr. Paul R. Brown, president of Monmouth University. Monmouth itself is a Division 1 institution, but its sports programs are not at the highest level as found at nearby Rutgers University or at the University of Alabama for that matter.
Brown also stated that educators “have a responsibility to prepare each student for the future.” He acknowledged that only a “tiny few” schools “put the emphasis on the ‘student’ part of the student-athlete.”
While Americans acknowledge the disparity between institutions and the NCAA’s role in the matter, some 42 percent assert that the NCAA does a bad job, while another 39 percent says that it does a good job. However, college grads are more likely to state that the NCAA does a bad job in promoting academic quality — 53 percent bad to 29 percent good. Further, most people detec the NCAA’s slant toward big-time programs with only 18 percent believing that the NCAA offers an effective counterbalance between member institutions.
NCAA Partition Coming?
As the chasm between high-profile sporting programs and traditional programs has stretched, some are calling for separate superintendence for the 75 to 80 top-shelf schools, with the remaining institutions forming a separate association.
The Monmouth University Poll found that 44 percent suppose that it would be a good idea for segregation, while 36 percent disagreed. About 20 percent had no opinion or thought it depended on various other factors.
“I think this poll underscores the fact that the system in its current form is broken, and that we need to look more realistically, more practically at our oversight of college athletics,” Brown said. “What is becoming increasingly clear to me, as the president of a mid-size, private school that values college athletics, is that one system and one set of rules does not and cannot work for everyone.”
Lucrative Remuneration Postulated
Most of the survey respondents felt that the upward push in sports is putting pressure on other schools to enhance their own programs. Further, more than three-quarters of Americans think that such programs are generating a lot of money for their schools. A majority of Americans, 53 percent to be precise, are under the impression that schools without high-pressure athletic programs lose money on sports, while another 30 percent thought that they made at least some money.
Monmouth University polled 1,008 adults in the United States in mid-December 2014. A margin of error rate of plus or minus 3.1 percent should be attributed.
See Also — Student Athlete Graduation Rate Improves