What does it say when 95% of the University of Wyoming’s football team believes they will make the NFL. According to databasefootball.com, 65 players who attended Wyoming have played in NFL history. Not in the last few years, NFL history. To put this in perspective, The Daily Trojan recorded 55 University of Southern California players on current NFL rosters as of February 2012. Wyoming with 65 in NFL history and USC with 55 currently. Quite the contrast isn’t it?
Why is it that college athletes, no matter the high-profile sport, believe they will “make it” to the professional level? Dreams.
Dreams are but a simple answer. It is the beginning and end answer for athletes. Dreams of fame, fortune and, in some cases, “going pro” and making it will be the answer to all of their problems. But will it? Will fame and fortune fulfill that dream? Will it be the answer to their problems? No.
If only 65 Wyoming players have ever played in the NFL, what are the odds that any from the 2012 team will make the NFL? Miniscule. The odds, as the saying goes, are stacked against them.
Wyoming is but a representation of the high-class prostitution that takes place in college football and basketball. Colleges (pimps) sell their school’s sports (athletes/prostitutes) to the highest bidder (johns). Fans? We’re a part of the equation too. We are the voyeurs.
As much as a small segment of sports fans would like to think this, college athletes are not dumb. They see how the system (business) works. If they’re “good enough”, they’ll get the best schools to offer them a scholarship (think $$$). The better the scholarship ($$$), the more likely they will make it to the pros (better clientele).
But what happens if they don’t make it? What happens to them then? Do they have the tools needed to make it when their “dreams” fail? Are schools “investing” the scholarships wisely with, dare I say, education? Or are they kicked to the street of failed NFL/NBA dreams while the haunting echoes of a thousand cheering voices spin in their head?
Education is not just in school. Basic education begins at home. As school’s become a central part of a child’s life, the two (home and school) become, or should become, the building blocks for instilling dreams. Not every child has those two entities working positively or even together in their life.
All the more reason that colleges need to provide additional education in life-skills, particularly for athletes. Is it feasible? It should be. Adaptation has always been part of the “game” of high-profile college athletics. Adapt to the bigger, faster, stronger athletes. Adapt to the changing rules and regulations instituted by the NCAA. Adapt to recruiting tactics of their counterparts. Adapt to the demands of the media and fans.
Give them what they ask for! Schools have answered the call.
What about now? What about teaching life-skills so that when the “dreams” are crushed, athletes won’t have to go “back to the streets” with no new dreams to speak of? Teach them how to read, write, make phone calls, send emails, use social media to become a vital part of society. Teach them how to “make” a difference in the world around them. Teach them how to overcome when the odds are stacked against them.
Should athletes have learned these skills earlier? Of course they should have but what if they didn’t? Are school’s just going to “use” (pimp) them for their own benefit ($)?
And us? The fans? What do we do? Do we continue to get lost in the euphoria of victory or the sting of defeat? Or do we demand more from “our” universities? Do we demand more from the NCAA to pressure member schools to “teach” life to ‘student-athletes’?
Sadly, I think we will continue as normal. We, includes me.
Sports, be it professional or collegiate, is our outlet. An outlet away from our ‘lives’ and a voyeurism into others’. Could it be, dare I say, a sports fan’s porn?
Thank you to Yahoo! Sports’ Rand Getlin for being the inspiration to this post.