Sociology of Sports

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Sociologyof Sports

Prompt 3. What are the arguments for and against interscholasticsports? In what ways do varsity sports influence student culture andthe overall social organization of high schools in the United States?Assess the popular beliefs about the benefits of varsity sports inhigh school and colleges. Identify the differences betweenintercollegiate sports in big-time athletic programs and those atsmaller, lower-profile programs. According to the textbook, what arethe major problems facing college sports programs and how might theybe solved?

The is a sub-discipline of Sociology and PhysicalEducation that studies sports as a social phenomenon. Skeptics urgethat more attention is paid to competitive sports, rather thanother forms of sporting activities. However, in this sub-discipline,other forms of physical activities such as individual fitness andhealth are also researched widely. The research may include:

  • Recreational activities

  • Adventure

  • Virtual Sports

  • Fitness/Exercise activities

Interscholasticsports are an accepted and vital part of the US high schools,colleges, and varsities. However, they may dominate the academicprofile of the involved schools, and thus many critics will beconcerned with how the schools will achieve their educationalobjectives.


Whatare the arguments for and against interscholastic sports?

Basically,interscholastic sports are athletic sports between two or moreschools that engage in it competitively or in a friendly manner(friendly matches). However, that is a partial description of whatinterscholastic sports should be. Critics argue that theinterscholastic sports are an extension of the classroom curriculum,and that serves to provide teaching and learning experiences for allstakeholders. In as much as these sporting outcomes, experiences andlessons are displayed on a scoreboard, they also tend to relate withlife and education. It is in these activities that the younggeneration tend to benefit from learning life values such as respect,teamwork, objectives setting, hard work and more so, healthycompetitions.

As seen, most of the general public and private sector in the US donot question the existence, benefits and failures of theseinterscholastic sports. Furthermore, the budget cutbacks and highlypublicized failures in other sporting programs tend to pose morequestions that the expected answers. Critics may question theco-relationship between these sporting activities, thesocio-development of young people and the success towards theeducational objectives. “It is argued that the educational goalsshould be given the initial priority.” The responses towards theseclaims and criticism reveal a great deal of emotional outcomes,agreements and disagreements. Almost all the program supporters whochampion interscholastic sports propose that it is a catalyst thatpromotes the school’s mission of modeling successful individuals inthe life that follows after school. However, opponents of this model,believe that it distracts students from the main activity ofachieving success in education (academic studies) and thus failingthe school’s mission. Often, people tend to exaggerate the benefitsor problems associated with interscholastic sports. So, the debate isquite intensive because it elicits mixed reactions. In a table, wecan highlight and analyze the pros and cons of interscholasticsports:

Claims for (pro)

Claims against (cons)

-They involve students in school activities and hyper the interest in academic achievements.

-They distract students from academic activities and distort values in school time.

-They promote healthy lifestyles and fitness and spark the interest in physical activities.

-They lead to many injuries and thus may lead to academic withdrawal from classes.

-They mold students into better persons, improve team work, social skills that are all required for occupational success.

-They perpetuate dependence conformity and performance oriented urge that is no longer useful in life.

-They generate unity and coherence in the school’s environment as the individuals feel the sense of belonging.

-They generate the spirit that is less useful in achieving academic goals.

So, we can see thatthe supporters emphasize glowing success stories, but criticsemphasize on cases of excess indulgence in these activities or evensubstance abuse (performance enhancing drugs). Thus, the debate liesbetween the two differences, and no accurate answers are available.

Inwhat ways do varsity sports influence student culture and the overallsocial organization of high schools in the United States? Assess thepopular beliefs about the benefits of varsity sports in high schooland colleges. Identify the differences between intercollegiate sportsin big-time athletic programs and those at smaller, lower-profileprograms.

In the US highschool athletes as a group, generally have higher GPA, moreinterested in academics, less absenteeism records, more interest injoining colleges and varsities, successful careers and are healthierand fit than those students who do not participate in any extraco-curricular activities. Thus, sports are commonly the mostsponsored and stuffed by high school institutions. The sportsstudent culture in high schools is a crucial aspect in discussingthe effects of interscholastic activities. For instance, athletes areaccorded recognition, students’ prestige among peers, formalrewards from the administration and other relevant bodies. Thesesporting activities have gained popularity in pep rallies, homecoming events and other significant social events in the schools’calendars. The students often enjoy the benefits of these eventssince there is provided a social interaction platform outside theacademics sphere. Varsity sports are well recognized, attract bigtime sponsors, sufficiently paid and even attract scholarshipprograms for high school and college students. Athletes in highschools work harder and stay focused towards a major goal “gettingvarsity scholarships.” So, it is seen that, an urge to excel insports at lower levels has far-reaching objectives. Varsity sportsare the pave way to professional sports leagues such as the NFL andNBA. Basically, high school sports are a stepping stone to that.

It is of a popularbelief that varsity sports are the best. The recognition that theseathletes get from their supporters is overwhelmingly profound. Thevarsity sports are associated with dominance, masculinity, stardom,social recognition and sexual prowess among the populace.Interestingly enough, those are the benefits that the athletes inhigh schools and colleges tend to associate with varsity sports.Almost all high school and college students would like to joinvarsity education and progress on their sports activities.

The differencesbetween intercollegiate sports in big-time athletic programs andthose at smaller, lower-profile programs are simply obvious:

  • Students in the big-time athletic programs are often seen as professional athletes rather than academic scholars. They spend most of their time in training rather than studying. They have to choose less involving, easier courses so as to meet their coach’s expectations. Whereas, those at smaller, lower-profile programs might be more involved in their study programs than sporting activities. Fewer hours are spend on the training grounds.

  • In the big-time athletic programs, there is more attention paid to by the public. The media is also a key tool in popularizing big programs. Generally, these athletes get more recognition than their counterparts in smaller, lower-profile programs.

  • Obvious, lots of funds, resources are spent in bigger athletic programs because this is a professional transition. It is the input of more financial support that brings success and make the teams bigger as compared to the lower-profile programs that have a smaller budget and thus a smaller team structure.

According to thetextbook, what are the major problems facing college sports programsand how might they be solved?

Collegesports programs face a wide array of problems as listed and explainedbelow:

  • Cost Containment and Growing Budgets Demands: Almost all colleges face this problem. It is a common occurrence that colleges tend to primarily raise funds from students and the parents of the students concerned. This mean that students from underprivileged families may be denied a chance to participate in the big-time sports activities. Sometimes, there are funding cuts whereby students are unable to raise money for traveling to far distant matches or even lack the funds to buy full or new kits.

Thisproblem can be solved through the seeking of cooperate support,fostering booster clubs and also ensuring that there are sufficientmeasures to collect finances from ticket sales.

  • Changing Orientation and Rising Expectations: Changing orientation is brought about by the conflict of interest between academic excellence and sports prowess. Athletes in colleges have divided interests simply because, college sports is a big time program that requires individual sacrifice in order for them to meet the expected outcomes winning matches and also staying fit all the time. Another expectation is that the athletes should also focus on their academic studies as well, and this is a major problem because the study time is minimal as we have seen that training hours for sports are more.

Thischallenge can be solved by putting more efforts into researching thepros and cons of interscholastic sports. Whichever outweighs theother should be a concern. Additionally, these athletes should bewell advised before they find themselves fully indulging in sportingactivities and detaching themselves from their course programs.

  • The Experience of Injuries, Trauma and Concussions: Athletes face the danger of permanent brain damage, especially for those playing football. This may lead to academic withdrawal or even the physical activity withdrawal and thus ruining the individual’s future prospects. Injuries are “part and parcel” of any college athletes’ fraternity. Injuries also cause classroom absenteeism and thus poor scores in studies. Team pressure and expectations may also bring trauma to some people who can end up in depression.

Thesolutions to these problems are sensitive and need more research.However, athletes are encouraged to play safely, maintain a healthybalanced diet and stay physically fit at all times.

  • Inequity: Gender inequality affects the college sports activities. There are fewer activities for women to play and do not attract the same attention as the men’s sports involvements do. There are also fewer sports for physically challenged, disabled persons who feel neglected by the system.

Thesolution to this problem is to address to inequality gap. It can beachieved by creating more sporting activities for females and givingthem the necessary attention they deserve in order for them to gainmorale and progress on their endeavors. Also, the disabled personsshould be recognized by creating physical activities that are wellsuitable for them and giving them more support