The Washington Post

Should NCAA colleges offer sports as an academic major?

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins wrote a provocative column on Wednesday challenging both sides of the argument that collegiate athletes should or should not be paid to play.

Why not let kids major in sports to allow athletes to pursue their athletic interests as a foundation for a future career off the field or court?

Here’s a passage from the piece:

With a fundamental shift in the way we think about college sports, by designating them intellectually worthwhile exercises instead of mere obsessions, we might gain some clarity. For one thing, the worth of an athletic scholarship would suddenly be clearer. We could stop worrying about “exploiting” athletes and whether to pay them.”

Understandably, the column has inspired a number of insightful comments — some that see the prospect of a “sports major” as another free pass for (student) athletes to avoid practical learning by all means possible and many others who see this as a way for athletes to explore an ever-growing field with legitimate career opportunities.

Join Sally Jenkins for a live chat on ‘Sports’ as a college major on Friday at 11 a.m.

Here are just of few of the many varied takes from our readers...

“Finally an intelligent response that will prepare the vast majority of athletes for the real world, like actors and musicians many strive to achieve the highest peaks but few make it. But the training and education will reshape how they view themselves and the world around them.”


Join in

“it would legitimize sports participation for the educational experience that it is - and encourage universities to create integrated curricula including existing courses such as sport science, sport psychology, sport sociology, sport management, physical education, kinesiology...”


Join in

“Universities already offer a Sports major, it’s called Sociology. Do we really need another fake major for athletes to miss classes, receive special treatment, and then fail to graduate?”


Join in

Join Sally for a live chat about her column and the future of the NCAA on Friday at 11 a.m. here. Read the full column and see the rest of the reader comments here.

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.


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