Student-athletes should not be held superior

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By Danika Young | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

Many college athletes are viewed as “campus celebrities” and receive special treatment in comparison to their peers, but why?

The simple answer is the attention sports can bring to a particular university and, to be blunt, the money they draw in.

For example, when Baylor’s men’s basketball team won the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship, Baylor gained significant exposure of its name and received more interest from high school students who were hoping to gain admission and attend — all because of the team’s triumph. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good thing for Baylor and the basketball team, BUT it doesn’t justify treating college athletes differently from and superiorly to normal college students.

However, the reality of the situation is that college athletes are students just like the rest of us. The majority of college students participates in outside clubs, organizations or jobs that are equally as time-consuming and stressful as sports, just in a differently demanding way. Just because college athletes have other talents or skills is not a reason for their superiority.

It’s no secret that college athletes seem to have privileges that other students on campus do not have. For example, there’s a perception that college athletes have more academic assistance, more grace with grades, better housing and dining options — the list goes on and on. This special treatment has become the “norm” for almost all universities.

While I understand that playing a sport is tedious and demanding, so are other extracurricular activities or on-campus jobs that the rest of the student population participates in. In addition, according to a 2014 NCAA report, fewer than 2% of all college athletes go on to play professional sports. This means the remaining 98% of college athletes ends up chasing academic-based careers, just like their peers who don’t play a sport.

All college students have hectic, stressful and high-pressure lives outside of academics. There should be no difference in the way we are treated in the eyes of a university.

The college athletes themselves are fine, but the way universities prioritize them for money, publicity and exposure over the rest of the student population is absurd.