Will Sports Save College?
Pundits will always make the case that college sports won’t last in America—we’ll become like the rest of the world, where athletes develop in sport-specific youth academies and professional minor leagues. Meanwhile, the future of college education is increasingly uncertain in the face of online learning; even Goldman Sachs has warned that the cost of college is becoming unjustifiable, as it takes an average of 10 years post-college to reap the return.
Who are they kidding? Study after study has found convincing evidence that athletic participation at college goes hand in hand with academic progress and career success. So far, the accessibility of online learning has actually increased the demand for spots at four-year colleges. Online learning is simply the gateway, the on-ramp—and the bigger the on-ramp, the rowdier the crowd. Sports are an essential component of college. Both playing for your college team—and rooting for your college team—are highly correlated with long-term satisfaction with the collegiate experience.