An open letter to ncaa athletes

Subject: An open letter to ncaa athletes
From: Jack Kirby
Date: 1 Dec 2021

Dear Athletes,
Does anyone else wonder where, or what college, they would have ended up at if they didn’t have an athletic gift?

The way I imagine it is that I honestly don’t think I would have willingly chosen to go to college. Well, American college at least. Anyone else? I, personally, would focus on figuring out what area of work I’d like to be in, get some experience, then decide if I need higher education with that area of focus. But, if I were to have no choice but to apply to American colleges, straight out of high school, I don’t believe I would be accepted to a private college. Especially, one of USC’s stature. And with a scholarship . . . no way. Props to those that made it without athletics.

Assuming I had no athletic career and I wanted to continue my education past high school, I would have applied to different colleges around Europe instead but also somewhere in Florida. Florida just because it’s relatively close to home. But, the reason I would go “across the pond” is that the east is known for a great education, better prices, and higher acceptance rates than the USA, not to mention the rich cultural experience of Europe while abusing cheap travel. For example, the University of Freiburg, in Germany, has an acceptance rate of 33% with a price of 155 EUR or $175 a semester while being ranked 83rd in the world by Times Higher Education. The downside though . . . is being far from home. Travel will take all day with flights as long as 11 hours.

At the same time, my opinion may be far-fetched from yall’s for a few reasons. For one, I don’t believe in the correlation between a good degree and being financially successful. By that, I mean making a lot over achieving a high-up job title. For me, I’m most grateful for the network and social connections USC has provided me. I see the value there way over my degree. I like to believe that I have an entrepreneurial mindset and won’t need an impressive resume because I will be doing the hiring.

Another reason, I’m a seasoned international student. Leaving home for an education somewhere else takes a leap of faith. Especially, leaving the country as a whole. I believe there aren’t many good enough reasons for Americans to want to make that leap of faith. So most, I’d imagine, stay. The USA is ranked #1 in education and millions are willing to pay the price. A price that could potentially bankrupt, I must add. Along with the family traditions, college isn’t a choice for many middle to upper-class students. It’s an expectation. Unless the young adult has an irregular but sound plan.
My point is for many of us, including nonathletes or “narps”, college is not the best choice of action. At least, not right out of high school. For athletes, I believe there needs to be a popular social belief in going to athletic institutions, not schools, that accept those who would like to take their career to the next level, professionally. And at those institutions, they should provide resources such as optional classes run by currently working or retired persons experienced in the areas of teaching. Who can also help with connections for getting hired after ending their athletic career.

Reasons for institutions would be funding and regulation, mainly. Its fairly self-explanatory. Funding for athletes in sports with requirements of expensive equipment and regular travel for competition or financial relief for less fortunate athletes. I’d even add these institutions to sponsor or help provide sponsors for the successful athletes to support the lifestyle, as there’s no time to work or make money. And for regulations, NCAA sets an ok example for regulations for athletes. Though the rules and governing do a great job protecting the athletes and assuring fair play, and these athletic institutions should copy the likes of it while updating the other areas.

Most importantly, the best athletes do not have time to be worrying about due dates and exams. To be the one percent in your sport, you must be committed to one thing and that’s the sport. Speaking of time, college is perfectly staged at the peak years of an athlete's life. Ages 18-22. You only get one chance at matching your highest potential. Do you really want to risk it for an education you are not sure will pay off or may cause major debt? I believe we are in need of a general change in the social view of college, especially for us athletes.

Sincerely yours,

Jack Kirby