USA Today has published a major feature article on college athletics:
the NCAA’s toughening of academic requirements for athletes has helped create an environment in which they are more likely to graduate than other students — but also more likely to be clustered in programs without the academic demands most students face.
Some athletes say they have pursued — or have been steered to — degree programs that helped keep them eligible for sports but didn’t prepare them for post-sports careers.
“A major in eligibility, with a minor in beating the system,” says C. Keith Harrison, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, where he is associate director of the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports.
•83% of the schools (118 of 142) had at least one team in which at least 25% of the juniors and seniors majored in the same thing. For example, seven of the 19 players on Stanford’s baseball team majored in sociology.
•34% of the teams (222 of 654) had at least one such cluster of student-athletes.
•More than half of the clusters are what some analysts refer to as “extreme,” in which at least 40% of athletes on a team are in the same major (125 of 235). All seven of the juniors and seniors on Texas-El Paso’s men’s basketball team majored in multidisciplinary studies, for example.