During the unit on Youth Sports you watched a media report and clips from two documentaries that offer excellent portrayals of some of the issues, pressures, realities, and consequences of highly organized and adult-centered youth sports in America. Most parents who engage their children in the current youth sports system are doing so for altruistic reasons. However, they are often faced with a difficult proposition as their child progresses in the club sports system in that they have very few viable alternatives for their children to play at a high level competitively in organizations that are not adult-centered and driven by profit (similar to the AAU model portrayed in At All Costs and the soccer model in the news story on injuries). Only a few parents are bad actors (as you saw in Friday Night Tykes and in At All Costs) and live vicariously through their kid’s youth sports experiences to gratify their own needs and wants for emotions that only sports can deliver.
For this question, identify three major issues from the media accounts that you think every parent who has a child participating in competitive youth sports needs to know. You should also use insights from Eitzen to support each of your claims, but identify the three issues from the videos you watched (and cite the source by title of the media in each of your responses). You should focus your advice toward the parents who are engaged in sports for the right reasons (i.e. NOT the bad actors), but are still often blind to some of the traps and realities of organized youth sports in America. In other words, write a 500 word (or so) essay grounded in a media or film account and supported by Eitzen’s musings from this unit that could be published under this title: Sport Parents Please Stop: Three Things You Should Stop Doing (and Why) If You Want Your Kids to Truly Enjoy and Develop Through Sports. College Sports (40 points total) Question 2 (15 points; approximately 350 words):
Provide three arguments by citing insights from your readings that would support this claim: “College athletes in big-time sports (i.e., NCAA Division I football and men’s basketball) are often exploited by the NCAA and their member institutions.” Make sure you outline NCAA’s concept of “amateurism” for one of your arguments, and how the NCAA and its member institutions restrict the “freedom of athletes” as another one of your arguments. You can then choose one additional insight from the readings (Eitzen and/or Holstein et al.) that also supports the “exploitation” claim. Question 3 (25 points; 600 words minimum): The Business of Amateurs documentary argues that the NCAA and its member institutions often place their profits and the desire to win ahead of the best interests of their student-athletes. There are several documentaries that outline various claims against the NCAA and the college sports enterprise, but Business of Amateurs is one of the few (if not the only) one that documents the challenges facing the college sports industry from the perspective of student-athletes.
Although some of the facts and policies governing college sports have already changed some since the release of this film (e.g., guaranteed multi-year scholarship at autonomy schools and scholarships that include the full cost of attendance), this film does an excellent job of outlining the major legal, ethical, and business challenges that threaten the future of the collegiate sports model in the US. For this question, let’s assume that the commissioner of the SEC (i.e., Mr. Sankey), was really impressed with your excellent essay on health and safety issues in college sports. He reached out to you again in order to help frame a discussion around this film for the university presidents in the SEC. The SEC is organized so that the presidents (and chancellors) of each institution who make up the SEC oversee the governance process of the league. Mr. Sankey actually serves in his role at the pleasure of the 14 presidents. Write a 600 word (or so) essay that reviews the major points made in this documentary that can serve as a type of “viewing guide” for the presidents and chancellors of the league.
This viewing guide will provide the presidents with the major takeaways from the film and focus their attention on some of the most significant pressure points challenging the college sports system that sports fans love. The film identifies several major challenges (e.g., amateurism, the market value of athletes, the role of the NCPA, the role of agents, academic cheating, athlete safety, name, image, and likeness issues, etc.); you should try to focus your synopsis on just 3 major issues outlined in the film. As you compose your essay, assume that these presidents and chancellors will watch the film after reviewing your essay, and thus your guide will help them focus on the major points that the filmmaker is trying to portray. Since our presidents and chancellors are all academic scholars and are likely to be a little suspect of a filmmaker’s perspective on the major issues facing college sports, you will need to include at least two references to our readings that lend support to the arguments made in the documentary. One of your citations should be to the Eitzen chapter in this unit and one to the Holstein chapter from this unit. Professional Sports (20 points total) Question 4 (10 points; 250 words minimum): Describe three different ways in which professional sport team owners are able to benefit from the US tax code to add value to their franchise. Question 5 (10 points; 250 words minimum): As you read the two chapters in Holstein et al. Is There Life After Football, you should have come to a realization that playing professional sports for a living can have a detrimental and lasting impact on the social, emotional, and professional well-being of retired athletes in their life after sports. The two chapters outline numerous challenges that athletes face during their transition out of sports, ranging from having a lack of life skills to lost comradery to scarce social support to serious psychological identity challenges. Collectively, these challenges and realities make it very difficult for athletes to transition out of their sport and transform (i.e., change in form, condition, character, and structure) into a new life that enables them to function optimally and experience a self-actualized sense of self. For this question, describe which ONE of the issues and challenges outlined in the text that you believe is the most significant in preventing these players from making a successful transition into life after sports. Be sure to cite your claim with evidence from the text and also make sure to outline briefly why you think this one challenge/hurdle/reality is the most significant challenge that the athletes will face (i.e., why is it more of a challenge than the others that are outlined by the authors of the text).