A Brief History of College Athletics and Sports Scholarships
By Penny Hastings
College recruitment of student-athletes started in the 1880s as college football began its transition from an extracurricular activity to a highly commercialized sport.
Prior to the turn of the century, compensation for collegiate athletes usually took the form of employment, free lodging (often at the home of a coach or supporter), meals, gifts and other special favors.
Primarily funded by a school's alumni and fraternities, incentives were offered to entice players to choose a particular school and to perform at the highest level possible. Most of the time, the promise of compensation was verbal, with players being assured they would be well taken care of, according to authors Penny Hastings and Todd Caven in the book, "How To Win A Sports Scholarship."
The popularity of college football grew quickly and a new industry - college stadium construction - was born. Many institutions around the country built gigantic structures to house the fast-growing sport. These stadia, in turn, created pressure for colleges to attract large crowds to justify their enormous cost. As a result, winning became increasingly important.
Along with garnering prestige for a college, winning helped to generate money. College administrators quickly realized that game attendance was markedly influenced by the quality of play and that greater numbers of enthusiastic fans brought in more dollars.
This created a heavy demand for each year's available athletic talent, not only for football, but also for other Sports, including track, rowing and baseball - Sports that were also growing in popularity among spectators.
With so many colleges looking to expand their appeal to potential students and donors, competition for gifted athletes increased, resulting in greater financial rewards being offered to student-athletes in an effort to win their favor. The modern age of college athletic recruiting had begun.
Although throughout the history of collegiate Sports there have numerous calls for a return to purely amateur Sports, they have largely been unsuccessful.
In 1952 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) legalized the use of athletic scholarships for the purpose of attracting qualified student-athletes.
Other athletic associations were established and they, along with the NCAA, began to regulate national college athletic standards. These associations and school administrators have instituted rules and regulations to help protect the student-athlete from exploitation, as well as to clearly define how much compensation can be given and in what manner.
Today, more than $1.2 billion is awarded in athletic scholarships yearly in American colleges and universities to both men and women. For many student-athletes, Sports are their entry into college and the only way they can afford an education.
The End. Penny Hastings Writing. Coloring Buddy Mike Editing