There’s a strong contradiction here. On one hand we are prepared to look the other way when our athletes don’t toe the line. On the other hand we let things like this happen. The argument I’m making is should attendance in classes really be a factor when you know, the alternative is that you make the roll call for the Indian team?
Sportspersons are often entered into colleges through the sports quota. At the time of admission it is realized that there’s something besides education which can take priority, and sometimes take priority over education too. It’s transparent, students slave over education, and during the most important exam of the college, the entrance exam, studies can take a back seat if you have an upper hand in sports.
Look at it this way, if Unmukt Chand had to miss classes for some academic purposes, would his attendance have taken a backseat? I don’t know the exact procedure in his college but during my time in college we were granted attendance for missing classes in favour of attending seminars and such. If a student is excused when he/she participates in some academic activity for the college, why shouldn’t the student be excused for representing the same in sports? And when the student is not representing just the college, not the university, not the city, not the state, but the entire country? The issue wasn’t that Unmukt failed his exams, he wasn’t even allowed to take the test in the first place over his attendance issues at first.
Why is it that sport in general are looked down upon a little as compared to intellectual activities like debates, seminars, etc? Both group of activities require skills, skills which have some value in the job market.
It’s true that the market is broader for the first group, but look at it as a hillock compared to a mountain. The hillock may be wider but it’s smaller. The mountain may be narrower at the base but it’s higher. Extracurricular activities like debates are more inclusive and more students can participate in them and it will help them more in their academic careers, but excellence in sports can get you a lot higher too. Although the market in sports is a lot more narrow, only the very best get to make a viable career out of it. While other activities give you more room to float.
In case of Unmukt he was later allowed to give his exams. I’m not forwarding the cause that a student who fails exams should be allowed to pass on merit of sporting excellence, even if it is for the country.
I know a guy who doesn’t pass but is at the pinnacle of his sport.
Pass the ball already!
The NBA is also cracking down on the importance of education. A lot of star athletes make the jump from High School to the league, skipping college. Like the star pictured above. He passed his exams, but he didn’t learn to pass the ball. Maybe college would have helped in that? That’s not the reason the league is cracking down on it, so that players go to college and learn to make passes. It’s imperative for young talented athletes to realize that the shelf life of a sportsman is limited and that getting proper education can help them milk their sports career to its best, branch out of it, and propel themselves for a viable career after retiring from sports.
Kobe Bryant was 18 years and two months old when he declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft. But today there’s a minimum age limit of 19 years in the NBA. Get this though, its done hand in hand with sports. The NCAA has a comprehensive system for college basketball, whose popularity rivals the NBA a little. March Madness is truly mad. The college game is seen as more pure since the commercial angle is missing from the kids.
On one hand it’s commendable that priority is being given to education. But what is being overlooked is that for a lot of players, basketball is a way to support their families. And while the NCAA makes a lot of money, the players don’t see it. Allen Iverson had to leave college halfway to get to the NBA. His sister needed medical care and he needed money to get his family out of the ghetto and pay her medical bills. While Iverson was thriving at Georgetown under the best coach he had met in John Thompson, he was compelled by circumstance to make the early jump to the NBA.
In the West, there is a more distinct line between education and sports. But in case of Unmukt, first he was debarred and then allowed to take the exam to go to second year. Maybe we ought to have a clear precedence in place with his case. Maybe if a student misses classes on account of playing for his country, the student ought to be given a pass if he/she can do well in the exams regardless and not be barred from taking the same because of attendance issues. Ideally we’d have it the other way, where attendance is adhered to strictly but in some cases, maybe it’s ok to make an exception.