College and professional athletics in particular have had issues with player literacy levels. In 1989, Sixty-seven percent of the N.F.L., ninety-two percent of the National Hockey League, eighty percent of the NBA, and eighty-four percent of Major League Baseball were without degrees, according to the leagues. Many of those who had graduated from four year institutions admitted they were given their degrees than earning them (Diana). This concept or idea of the degree, in general, is how we choose to define our success in society. It is the key to us obtaining a job and becoming successful in our lives. Degrees will allow us to create a large net worth for ourselves to live established and comfortable lives; "Education is the key". The video provided in the button above discusses these ideas as well. The medium of the degree may be the improper way of expressing what it means to be an "educated man." It is without a doubt true that "hard work and education are related". The process of growth in body, mind, and spirit are all exhausting. If we are simply choosing to just hand out degrees to these athletes, are we not simply denying them to expand their horizons? A degree is a meaningful accomplishment, and it does, without a doubt, provide people with the opportunity to be successful within our society. On average, a degree holder will make one million more dollars over a lifetime than a non-degree holder. (Learn More Earn More) It is not, however, the key to success, nor does holding a degree mean that you are an "educated man."
Why is it that we push education and literacy as the foundation for our students, but we allow free passes to those that are talented athletes? One simple reason could be economics, Universities understand the value behind a player and what a player brings to the University. "The total rights payment for 2011-12 was $705 million, or 81 percent of all NCAA revenue. Most of the remaining 18 percent of revenue came from championships (mostly ticket and merchandise sales)." Those numbers are staggering. It is no wonder that often times they are willing to give a blind eye or even push struggling athletes through. Still, in doing so, they look past one of the most important things in literacy, like education, schooling, and the opportunity for students to expand their horizons; this can be seen directly in Kevin Ross Story. "The idea was to lay so fixed a foundation that it would never fail one," (Carthurs 888). Education allows people to have a foundation, for which they can then use to explore our marvelous world. It allows them to establish their own concept of education and success. It allows them to "apply their knowledge to create wisdom." Rather than give students the opportunity to grow and establish themselves, universities end up viewing an athlete as a pay check and not a student. They fail to do their duty to society and that student in return. They fail to provide the opportunity in which that student can expand and develop.