David Pargman urges colleges to let athletes study sports:
These athletes are as honest in recognizing and divulging their aspiration as is the student who declares a goal of performing some day at the Metropolitan Opera or on the Broadway stage. Student athletes wish to be professional entertainers. This is their heart's desire. … Why not legitimize such an academic specialty in the same manner that other professional performance careers, such as dance, voice, theater, and music, are recognized and supported?
Travis Waldron is onboard:
In Pargman’s view, an athletics major would consist of the standard two years of general studies that most undergraduates take as freshmen and sophomores. After that, it would get more specific to their field, as they would take classes like anatomy and physiology, exercise science, contract and business law, and public speaking.
Howard Wasserman pushes back:
Pargman argues that not forcing student-athletes to pick a major in which they are not interested–when they really want to study their sport and become a professional athlete–is "integral" to a good portion of the other travesties that surround college sports. But is forcing a football player to major in, say, "Leisure Studies" really integral to all the other problems? Or are the real problems that 1) many of these people have no interest in being in college or studying at all, regardless of what classes they can take or what they can declare as a major, and 2) universities and coaches are making boatloads of money because of the skills of these students and the students are not seeing a dime. Honesty in their major does not change that.
Which is not to reject the proposal out of hand. It is just to emphasize that the problems inherent in college sport go much deeper than this.