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In most sports disciplines, athletes reach their peak in their mid twenties and continue to excel way into their thirties. Considering that most sports scholarship beneficiaries are in their late teens and early twenties, it makes sense for them to acquire their degrees while they are still on their scholarships even though it is possible to always go back and do it later. The circumstances are not the same. If someone goes to college, they gain information and valuable skills that are relevant for the duration of one’s life, no matter what career they chose. College enables an individual to:

ü  Expand his or her knowledge and skills

ü  Express one’s thoughts clearly in speech and in writing

ü  Grasp theories and abstract concepts

ü  Increase a person’s understanding of the world and his or her community

Higher education improves one’s quality of life. Studies have shown that, compared to high school diploma holders who opt not to pursue education further, college graduates have better access to health care and have longer life spans, better health and dietary practices, security and greater economic stability, more prestigious employment and have greater job satisfaction. Studies also show that college graduates have  less dependency on government assistance, possess greater knowledge of government, greatly participate in community service and leadership, do  more volunteer work, have more self-confidence, and are less likely to indulge in criminal activity and hence less likely to be incarcerated. In addition to this, college graduates are more likely to use seatbelts, are more likely to continue with education, have greater Internet access, better attendance at live performances, greater participation in artistic and leisure activities, buy more book, and are more likely to participate in politics and vote more than non-graduates  (Walter & Charles, 1997).

Higher education, theoretically, also enables individuals to gain more skills and expand their knowledge, express their thoughts clearer in speech and in writing, grasp abstract concepts and theories, and increase their understanding of the world and their community. {Earl & John,2005). The former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan once said, "We must ensure that our whole population receives an education that will allow full and continuing participation in this dynamic period of American economic history." (Jennifer, 2001). The interpretation of  Mr. Greenspan’s remarks or else what he is saying basically, is that without college education one may be left out. As time goes on, the relationship between a college education and success will become more and more significant in our information-driven global economy.

The general message in not so many words is that success in whatever field one maybe involved in is; you need a college degree. In athletics and today’s business environment, a fact that most athletes overlook is that more money is made off the pitch than in the pitch. The most successful athletes make more money in endorsements than they make actually participating in whatever sport they are involved in. Talking about a firm choosing someone to endorse its products involves a lot more specifics than how well one can kick a football. The social, association and expression skills which are learnt in a college environment are of paramount importance (Jennifer, 2001).

With the bliss of youth come lots of expectancies about life. I am not trying to downplay the importance of setting goals, laying strategies of achieving them and working hard towards achieving one’s goals in life. I am just trying to bring a scenario of “what if it doesn’t happen?” For example, a lot of college athletes set their minds on excelling in their disciplines but how often will there come a Lance Armstrong, a Lionell Messi, an Usain Bolt, a Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods? Not as often as it should happen. And of the thousands and thousands of college athletes, how many among them will become the new Lance Armstrong or Michael Jordan, or the new Diego Maradona of their sport? One in a different way every other decade perhaps (Arthur, 2007).

Success in sport is not guaranteed but success with a college degree to a certain extent is almost guaranteed by at least $54,704 dollars a year on the low side. The figure might look paltry compared to athletes who make a couple hundred a year and a couple of millions in endorsements in the same period but overlooking the fact that a sporting career can be awfully short is nothing short of reckless (Patricia & Peter, 1991). What happens when you can’t kick a football anymore? When you cannot throw a punch anymore? You can count on one thing for sure: a goodbye kiss to the millions in endorsements and a drying up of earnings from the sport itself. Which club will sign a crippled athlete? What value can you add to the Lakers if you can’t sink in the baskets and collect the rebounds? (Arthur, 2007).

On the other hand, excelling in a knowledge based world has no such pressures. A blown knee will not stop an individual excelling as a software engineer or a manager. But these careers require qualifications that are learnt in college. More than refining an individual’s outlook and shaping the minds of young people towards coping with the challenges of a rapidly changing world, a college education does so much more. The college as an institution benefits from an athletes efforts and success and there is no reason why the athlete shouldn’t benefit from the college by enjoying the experience and at the same time learning and acquiring a degree in academics. By all means the benefits should be mutual  (Walter & Charles, 1997).

Students on athletics scholarships should utilize their time in college by earning their degrees in the duration of their scholarships. A degree will not only provide a fall back career when things don’t work out in the pitch but it will also equip the beneficiaries with skills and knowledge that are applicable in every day life (Earl & John, 2005).

While still in college, scholarship beneficiaries should work hard on the academic aspect of their being in college and attain the best tool for tackling life that a college can offer; the college experience and a degree.

Code: Sample20

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