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College Sports and Education: American Culture



Introduction

The development of college sports in American colleges has led to development of a controversy; this controversy is based on the effect that the college sports has had on college education. It has led to wide debates on what is really important in college: sports or education? The advancement of college sports has meant that some colleges in America have gained worldwide fame and this has led to sports having more importance than education in some colleges. The advancement of sports over education has led to widespread outcry among the education technocrats; they argue that education should be given priority over the sports in colleges.

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Their argument is mainly based on the fact that college sports have negatively impacted the activities of colleges on the educational front. College sports means that students have to miss some classes to perfect their sport performance as the colleges highly value the sports; this they argue leads to erosion of the value of education in colleges. The colleges also come to a standstill during the actual games time in colleges paralyzing the activities of colleges on the educational front. They also argue that colleges use more funds on sport activities instead of channeling more funds to educational aspects of a college. Indeed funding of college sports runs into millions of dollars; the case in point being the University of Maryland that had deficits of up to 5 million dollars. The channeling of funds to sports has led to an increment in college tuition fee.

College Sports

However, college sports have numerous benefits that cannot be gainsaid and should hold importance in college education. Those in favor of college sport argue that numerous benefits it has should not be thrown away and that it should be integrated into the education system without having any adverse effects on the education system of colleges. College sports have numerous benefits; many athletes from college have earned a living out of the activities that they engaged in. The most famous names in the NBA and NFL were once college students and it is from the college sports that they were able to make a living. College sports also nurture leadership as success depends on good leadership. People like Carmen Cozza, the Yale University Football coach, have inspired many people and students due to his great leadership.

College sports also bring people together and enhance town unity. It also leads to development of life long affiliations and creates unwavering alumni support. The popularity that is associated with college sports also acts as a tool for advertising the college and hence increasing the number of applications. Butler University Basketball team that lost to Duke in the national championship made its college famous, which led to increased applications for admission into the college. This paper will examine the impact of NBA and NFL on American culture to show the importance of sports in colleges.

NBA

The impact of NBA on American culture has been extremely huge. NBA has played a major role in the integration of American people. It played a major role in bringing down segregation and enhancing integration. Before 1950 African-Americans were not allowed to participate in the NBA. The first NBA team to allow a black player to participate in its activities was the Washington Capitals; this player was known as Earl Lloyd. African-Americans had a style of play that focused on speed, agility, creative ball handling and superior jumping ability. This new and improved way of playing made African-Americans accepted by Whites who were a majority. It is, therefore, evident that NBA played a very significant role in the integration of people in the American culture and fostering peace. Up to date NBA still plays a major role in the integration of people in American society. NBA provides most if not all the players for the national team. The national team is a major unifying factor in the country. Performance of the national basketball team in various international tournaments is source of national pride; this inspiration that is derived from the pride of nation helps in the acceptance of various cultures in the country, hence fostering integration and peaceful co-existence.

The National Basketball League has also led to the introduction of new cultures in America. In 2002 the Houston Rockets signed a contract with Yao Ming, a Chinese player from the Chinese league. This was the first player ever to play in the National Basketball League without having any experience in playing in America. The contract with Yao Ming opened America to the People’s Republic of China and indeed many countries in the world. The introduction of new cultures has made American people more hospitable by learning about other cultures and how they carry out their activities. In addition to that it has also made America more attractive to regions and countries that once had reservations about America. The impact of these on American culture has been huge due to the globalization that is associated with the National Basket Association all over the world.

NBA has also played a major role in the reformation and improvement of the streets of America. The huge commercial incentives and financial gains that are associated with NBA have led to conversion of places that were formerly full of crime into basketball courts. Young people all over the country spend their time playing basketball instead of participating in illegal activities. This has helped in reducing the levels of crime in most neighborhoods as young people who are susceptible to crime are engaging in other activities that keep them off illegal activities. This has led to better and safer neighborhoods.

NBA has also led to the integration of people from major cities across the United States of America. The major NBA teams come from specific cities in the country; people in these cities always tend to support the teams from their cities. As a result people from the same city have common interests as they are united by a common factor. This is quite significant as these people are united by common interests and can also carry out other social activities that can be of huge benefits to the cities that they represent. This togetherness leads to many other benefits that would otherwise not be attainable if people were not united (Culture in NFL History 12).

NBA has also had extremely huge commercial success. It has catapulted small companies like Nike to global fame. In 1984 Nike was a small shoe company, but with the advancement of basketball in the country it was turned into one of the biggest sports franchise in the world. The transformation of such companies into huge entities introduced two trends into American culture; it led to huge commercial endorsement of star players in NBA and many people started yearning to possess merchandise that was endorsed by these star players. The pioneer basketball star was the legendary Michael Jordan who catapulted NBA to global fame; his brand of shoes, Nike Air Jordan Shoes, is popular all over the world. The huge financial benefits also introduced a new dressing style that was associated with NBA. Baggy T-shirts and baggy trousers are some of dressing codes in American society that is associated with NBA. It also led to the development of live television sports and development of sports science. This enabled the fans that could not travel to see their teams play to follow the matches from their homes. It also played a major role in the development of exclusive sports channels that only majored in the activities of the world of sport (Pheifer 34).

National Football League NFL

The impact of the National Football League on American culture can be compared to the impact the Super Bowl had on American culture. The 1970’s witnessed the transformation of Super Bowl into a truly popular American culture. Many pundits describe the 1973 Super Bowl as the first really memorable Super Bowl due to the advertisement that was aired during the game. The then famous blonde Farrah Fawcet seductively applied Noxzema shaving cream all over the face of Joe Namath; this was the first advertisement that catapulted the Super Bowl to be the ultimate advertisement forum for all the major franchises in America and the rest of the world. This proved the potential of Super Bowl advertising power. Other notable advertisements included the Coca Cola ad in 1979 that featured “mean” Joe Green. The Super Bowl has now become the biggest advertisement medium in the USA as it is watched by nearly all Americans.

NFL through the super bowl also introduced the pop culture into the game and American culture. The Super Bowl became associated with performance of famous artistes. It featured performances of the national anthem before the start of the game. Diana Ross pioneered the singing of the national anthem prior to kickoff of the Super Bowl. Diana Ross flawless performance led to the introduction of a culture in America that involved famous musicians and personalities during the Super Bowl. In fact these performances also became a major attraction as the Super Bowl itself. Since 1982 a lot of artistes have followed Diana Ross in performing at the Super Bowl. Some of the legendary artists to have graced the Super Bowl stage include: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and a lot of other famous artists. The most famous half time show was in 2004 in Houston when Janet Jackson experienced a "wardrobe malfunction". It was an incident involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake; during their performance Justin accidentally pulled a piece of Janet Jackson’s cloth exposing her breast. Though they claim it was an accident, it has also been argued that it was stage managed by the two for publicity. In spite of this NFL introduced a new way of pop culture involvement in sports through the Super Bowl.

NFL has also led to the introduction of “super Sunday “into American culture. The super Sunday itself has become some sort of national holiday in the United States of America; in fact it has been trade marked by the National Football League as its product. The super Sunday is a new culture that is associated with certain annual events in American culture. It is marked by various forms of entertainment that is aired on all major national television networks that have coverage of the Super Bowl. It also rivals Christmas and Thanksgiving in terms of the products purchased by the consumers in America. It is second after Thanksgiving in the amount of food consumed. This huge impact by the Super Bowl is due to the cultural entrenchment that has taken root in America’s society all due to the impact of NFL.

NCAA

NCAA plays a very important role in the activities of college sports. Its main significance is the order and organization that it brings to college sports. It is the governing body that is involved in nearly all sports activities that colleges participate in. It organizes the calendars for various sports on college level. This role is very significant as it professional handling of the college sports activities makes various sports professionals from the college level. Indeed NCAA has been attributed with the success of the college sports due to the professional handling of the college sports that has enabled the production of the best athletes in the world. This order and organization are very significant for the success of the college sports (Eckert 23).

NCAA is also significant in that it is the regulatory body that manages the college sports. It is charged with the formulation of policies that govern the activities of the sports at college level. It comes up with rules and regulations that govern sports at college level. It also has the function of solving any disputes that may arise related to college sports. This enables a fair and level playing ground for all the participants of the college sports. It also promotes fairness by diving schools and colleges into different fields so as to be able to develop athletes at all levels.

NCAA is also significant in that it plays a very big role in the development of athletes at college level. It provides necessary assistance that is required for the development of top level athletes. This support has led to the production and emergence of athletes who have represented the country and propelled it to higher status. This support is mainly provided through the scholarships that have been provided to the promising athletes in divisions 1 and 2. The support has proved handful in production of extremely talented athletes.

The facts discussed above prove that sports have a very important role to play in the society. The impact of major sports on American culture has been quite significant over the years. There are many positive changes that result from sports as discussed above. College sports provide the majority of players to NBA and NFL as it provides a stepping stone to the professional leagues. College sports should be an integral part of college life as it holds importance similar to that of education. Education and sports should be integrated so as to produce all round athletes. Instead of doing away with sports the governing bodies should formulate policies that govern sports in colleges in such a way that they don’t interfere with education; all in all, sports should be retained in colleges as they play a very important role.

Summary

College sports are very important for development of students in colleges. Though some people argue that education should be given precedence over college sports, sports should also be given a chance as they play an important role in modern life. College sports lead to numerous positive factors in society and the culture of American people. Many athletes who went through the sports system of colleges end up as professional athletes who can make a living out of it. They also represent the country making people proud.

Some of the impacts that sports have had on American culture to justify the importance of college sports include the Super BowlBowl introduced by NFL. The Super Bowl is an annual event in which the best football teams of America take part. The Super Bowl has transformed American culture by introducing new annual events that are similar to Christmas and Thanksgiving. The events that take place during the Super Bowl are now entrenched in American culture. It has led to the introduction of the super Sunday into American culture, which has been transformed into some sort of a holiday. In addition huge commercials have been associated with NFL due to the popularity of the sports; this has resulted in the introduction of the biggest advertising avenue in America during the Super Bowl. The music events that take place during the Super Bowl are also some of the new cultural impacts due to the activities of the National Football League.

NBA has also had significant impact on American culture; it has led to the introduction of new cultures to American society through the introduction of foreign players to the league. Yao Ming is the biggest example of foreign players to have had a huge impact on American culture. NBA was also essential in the integration of American races as it brought people of different races together. NBA has also been credited with bringing people from the same cities together as they support their teams hence become united in a similar course. NBA has also helped in improving the security status of the streets of America as young people who are vulnerable to crime take part in community-based basketball as they try to make it to NBA like their idols. The majority of the athletes in both NFL and NBA went through colleges, proving the importance of sports in colleges. College sports should therefore be integrated with education as both education and sports play a very important role in modern American culture.

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