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Degrees for Caps: Do we have a responsibility to provide better educated role-models for young people?


Posted by Cags R on 3 February 2012 at 10:45 AM

A throw-away comment yesterday got me thinking. The comment was followed by slurs on Pro-footballers whose over-publicized actions seem to influence an entire generation’s morality, John Terry’s captaincy being stripped from him and the ridiculous debate in the media about 'is-that-comment-racist' lead to this simple statement: ‘there should be a minimum intelligence test for Pro-footballers’

Well why not? There’s so much in the press about the social responsibility footballers have as role models to young people, well what sort of example is leaving school at 15 or 16 with no or few qualifications to your name? It's also unfair on pro-athletes to have to choose between education and sport at such a young age: Frank Lampard made the news as he achieved 11 GCSEs but left school at 16 to play football, obviously that worked out well for Frank (congrats Frank) but what about those who don’t make it? I’m talking about boys whose sporting potential peaked at 14 - when they were picked up by one of the major clubs’ junior programs - and then dropped again by 17. These boys will have already lost contact with education by focussing whole heartedly on their sport and will be left with a broken dream and little else. 

The American system of representing your school in sport as a privilege - earned through grade-point averages – encourages athletes to maintain their academic grades as well as their sporting prowess (and yes I am thinking about Coach Carter right now). The role played by American University’s sports programs as a feeding system into professional leagues leads to more sports persons staying in education longer in the US. However there is a noticeable resentment that in highly academic institutions athletes are given an ‘easy-in’, granted a place at the University for their sporting skills rather than their academic potential.

So which system has it right? One which channels students into sports careers before they are finished with education or one which channels sports persons into University to pursue a sports career?

  • Encourage

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    Sport should be accessible for all, but I wish the concept of free market economics worked better in sport to deter people from participating in sports where moral inadequacies, corruption and standards are more dubious. Sport is a fragile career and it's right that we support people and back them up with an educational safety-net. But more and more people think football is an alternative to education. And - as a result - we withdraw perfectly competent students to push them into a sport which - consequently - creates a race to the bottom. Most footballers are pretty stupid. They are not role models and should not be held up to be.

    Andrew M encouraged this.


    There is a terrible tendency in the UK to allow children to abandon their studies if they show exceptional sporting talent at a young age. I think that even though US athletes are given an easier time at universities as you say, their system is still preferable to ours which leaves people marooned when their sporting careers end. Reading recently about Dean Windass attempting suicide after his retirement from football was heartbreaking.


    I think the grade-point average scheme in the US is a really productive way to keep young athletes focussed on their education, it also drives them to not give up on subjects which they find harder - asking for a C grade in subjects isn't requiring Einstein's brains. However I think the way the US use Universities as sporting recruiting grounds is wrong. Uni isn't for everyone.

    Andrew M and Nancy S encouraged this.


    I don't fully agree with the sentiment that because you have less of an academic education you're more likely to spout racist abuse. Though if you want some support to the argument that education becomes less of an importance when the doors open to professional sport then you only have to look at rugby in the professional era. You only have to see previous players such as JPR Williams who was a doctor and Brian Moore who was a lawyer and then compare them to the crop of players we have representing England on Saturday. Players are getting their first caps at a much earlier age and there is no real incentive for players to further their education. Though the exception to this is Jamie Roberts who is training to be a doctor.


    I think there is a certain amount of tough love which is required if the grades system works, obviously sports should never be out of reach to young people but if there was a connection to doing well in school (and by that I don't necessarily mean academic genius, just behaving well and putting effort it then there may be a general improvement in behaviour across the board. I think @alexe has a good point about rugby; younger national caps means that exactly the same thing may start happening in rugby as it did in football. When the money given to athletes becomes a matter of securing life savings, pensions and ridiculous assets all within a decade of working then where is the incentive to stay in education?

    Andrew M and Nancy S encouraged this.


    People who have good edcuation and known as educated people must set role model for the students. It's our responsibility to return the society and it's best way to do this task. You like to put some good suggestion for such people and young youth as well. However, I want to get some reviews about and at the same time happy to get this site due to its sound good reviews.

    Nancy S encouraged this.


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