Sports has been an all time favorite past time in America. The south takes it to another height. Colleges are becoming more focused on sports rather than education. There are some cons and pros for this problem. The south has a long trail of racial problems, but sports bring people together and eliminate differences. Fans will join hands and cheer for same team side by side. You can go the deepest parts of Mississippi and Alabama and find fans that are willing to put race aside for sports. Sports also can greatly develop a small city and economy. Let me briefly talk about some schools that benefit from this. The first school is Ole Miss. I know Oxford is developing, but it is still in Mississippi. Mississippi is ranked number 50 on ACT scores, but has produced a host of great athletes. Ole Miss brings in a great deal of money from football. Their games are sold out and people pay top dollar to watch them play. Their basketball team has up and down years, but never gets close to football. You rarely hear about their educational achievements. Oxford is booming during football season locals enjoy the money they make, and the school enjoys donations.
The second school I want to talk about is the University of Kentucky. The school is located in Lexington, Ky. Unlike Ole Miss, basketball is the money maker here. Kentucky has a long history for basketball, but with today’s technology it receives attention on a large scale. Social media exposes the institutions to other areas of the world and their fan base grows. Basketball is similar to a religion in Kentucky. They are lead by John Calipari, who was the former coach of the University of Memphis basketball team. Calipari is an excellent recruiter and signs the best high school players to play for him. The players he brings in are for the most part future NBA players. Fans enjoy it because you can attend a game and watch a good selection of future NBA players play for a cheaper price then going to an actual NBA game.
The last school I want to talk about is Sweet Home Alabama. Legendary Tuscaloosa, Al is home to roll tide football. The University of Alabama loves and adores their football team. They invest so much money in the program. Their football stadium is state of art, and better than some NFL stadiums. Roll Tide football is big business. They have fans all over America with their winning attitudes. The football program brings in over 82 million dollars a year. This is large number, but the state’s education ranking does not reflect any investment from the college. Nick Saban is the head coach of this team and is the highest paid coach in college football. Saban makes 5.5 million dollars a year to coach football to players who are doing it for free.
These schools are well known for their sports, but why is education not advertized and invested in as much. Education will last longer than any athletic ability. Boosters have got involved and now make money off sports for their own interest. We all have to realize that these players we watch and enjoy are still students, not dollar signs.