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Why not relocate for athletic recognition?

Posted: Sunday, August 28, 2011

The decision of Mikey McIntire's family to move from Harlem to Lincoln County was criticized and portrayed as a move from a bad football team to a very, very good one.

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Presumably, people believe that the family is doing so in hopes that Mikey will be better known as an athlete, get more recognition, and potentially be in position to get an athletic scholarship.

The family claims that the move was a long time coming and that athletics was not the purpose.

Whomever you want to believe, the situation brings to mind something interesting.

If a student-athlete's family did make a move for the purposes of gaining recognition and getting a scholarship, wouldn't that make a whole lot of sense in this day and age?

For one, college is very expensive. College graduates are saddled with more student loan debt today than ever.

If that's true, then it makes a full scholarship -- or even a half scholarship -- quite valuable.

Some would like to think that if, say, a football player is good enough, even on a bad team, that the player should be able to garner interest among college football coaches.

The problem is that there are so many football players vying for college coaches' attention that statistics and a team's accolades really do go a long way.

It certainly helps to be on a good team.

I get calls every now and then from families who will be moving to Columbia County from outside the area. Their children play sports, and they often ask which schools in their child's particular sport typically get the most college recruits.

Those parents seem to understand that getting an athletic scholarship is not an accident. Some athletic environments are certainly more advantageous in this regard.

The bigger issue, however, is that athletics has taken the focus away from academics.

To even think that a student could be moved from one school to another because of athletics is a troubling thought.

It says a lot about a society that is focused, at times, far too much on athletic performance and, at times, far too little on classroom performance.

It seems sort of convoluted that athletic ability can be the difference between one child getting a full ride to college and another having to pay his way. This is not to say that student-athletes aren't good students, because clearly there are so many out there who can balance both very well.

Might we have our priorities a bit skewed, though?

Instead of athletic scholarships being at the forefront, perhaps academic scholarships should be the ones that get the most recognition.

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