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• Average tuition and fees was $12,616 for recipients of athletic scholarships, $3,146 higher than the $9,470 average for non-recipients.
• Average total cost of attendance for recipients of athletic scholarships was $24,335, $4,560 higher than the $19,775 average for non-recipients. In reality, athletic scholarship recipients are not benefiting that much more from institutional grants, or scholarships, than non-recipients. Their only real benefit is being able to enroll in schools that are slightly more expensive – if we’re just examining the financial aspects of making their final college decision. At the same time, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan targeted NCAA schools for their loose academic standards. In an interview with ABC News, he said, “Right now the formula handsomely rewards teams who are winning games in the tournament, but it does little to reward teams for meeting minimal academic benchmarks. I simply cannot understand why we continue to reward teams for failing to meet the most basic of academic standards off of the courts.” Seen your scholarship matches recently? Check them out now. Duncan poses a great question. And he’s right. NCAA teams that are promoting a true student athlete experience are overshadowed by championship caliber teams whose players are only in school to play a sport. Again, Kantrowitz found that these types of generalizations that all sport teams are composed of academically failing student athletes aren't necessarily accurate. In regard to graduation rates, Kantrowitz found that “of students in Bachelor’s degree programs who received athletic scholarships in 2003-04, 72.5% graduated with a Bachelor’s degree by 2009 (i.e., within 6 years). This compares with 63.0% for non-recipients.” What is important to glean from Nader and Duncan’s statements and Kantrowitz’s heavy research is that blanket statements and generalizations shouldn’t define public opinion of student athletes and college sports. In fact, Kantrowitz’ data proves that, in general, student athletes aren't’t enormously benefiting financially or drastically falling behind in the classroom because they play a college sport. Perhaps some are, but a majority are not.