Why Don't We Let College Athletes Major In Sports?

David Pargman, a professor emeritus of educational psychology at Florida State University, makes a perfectly sensible argument in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Why can't aspiring professional athletes just major in sports, the way that aspiring dancers major in dance and aspiring actors major in theater and aspiring dickheads major in journalism? What you lose in academic rigor you gain in truth. Pargman lays out a curriculum that sports majors could follow after completing two years of required, introductory courses.

Junior year, first semester: anatomy and physiology; educational psychology (introduction to learning theory); laboratory in heavy resistance training; football, basketball, or baseball offensive strategies (scrimmage).

Junior year, second semester: introduction to sports psychology; introduction to physiology of exercise; laboratory in aerobic fitness training; elements of contract law; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (scrimmage); health education.

Senior year, first semester: introduction to human nutrition; public speaking; football, basketball, or baseball laboratory (offensive and defensive strategies); introduction to sports coaching.

Senior year, second semester: introduction to motor learning; stress and performance; elements of business law; the body in motion (kinesiology).

Obviously, this alone won't end the college-sports kabuki; the incentives are too strong for schools with big-time athletics programs to make a dog's breakfast of any curriculum for athletes, even one as tailored to their interests as this one. But a sports major would at least have the virtue of honesty. That's the sort of thing colleges are supposed to care about.

[The Chronicle of Higher Education]