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Caleb Hanna

ENG 111

Lyndsay Knowles

24 April 2018

Academics vs. Athletics

When you think of school you might think of things such as textbooks, teachers, classes,

lunch, and sports. Personally, when I think of my school the most prominent thing is sports and

the same is for many of my friends that go to different schools. The idea of academics being less

important than sports is something that sounds unreal but is a major issue in our country. In

many schools around the country students on sports teams are bringing home full ride

scholarships while those students with perfect grades and a GPA of 4.0 or higher must pay their

way through college. Another thing is that the spending on academics is nowhere near matched

to the amount spent on sports. While sports are important to offer in schools the sports are a

minority compared to the students who do not participate in sports.

One of the main things that show the favoring of sports over academics is the spending.

In an example from Huffington Post, it states that there was an average of $144,592 spent per

athlete while only $13,410 was spent on average per student. With those figures, you could put

about 11 students through school with the cost of one season for one athlete (“Some Schools

Spend 10 Times More On Athletes Than Students: Report” 2017). The figures used for an athlete

could also be used to replace outdated textbooks, broken desks, and even raise teacher salaries.

According to, high school teachers are paid, on average, $58,710. The average cost

of an athlete is three times as much as a high school teacher pay (Dorfman, 2014). Also, with
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athletes nearly everything is provided for them such as uniforms, equipment, and other odds and

ends things, whereas teachers must pay for nearly everything in their classrooms such as paper,

writing utensils, and other items.

The average whole football uniform costs $775.98 to $2,174.82 (Duvall, 2015). Now to

me this seems reasonable except that they do not have to pay for this themselves, they may pay

for new cleats or gloves but they do not have to pay the hefty price for the uniform, the school

does instead. As I stated earlier, teachers are left paying out of their pockets for what is deemed

“extra” school supplies, this can run a bill up to $1,000 a year for each teacher. As one teacher

stated in the article, “Also, the more impoverished your student population, the more you

spend.”(Figueroa, 2017) So the $1,000 is just an average not really taking into account the

underdeveloped area that has less. Teachers have to pay for necessary learning tools for their

students yet football players get nearly their whole uniform for free.

In my opinion, one of the biggest costs in football and many other sports are the playing

fields. For this example, I will use football fields to compare costs. When it comes to football

fields there are two main options for the field, natural or synthetic. The average cost to lay and

maintain a synthetic field can range from $850,000 to $1,000,000 (“Cost: Synthetic Turf” 201.

This difference alone ($150,000) is enough for two teachers to live comfortably if that was their

pay (roughly $75,000 per person) but instead, the amount it costs to lay it and maintain it is the

same as paying nearly 17 teachers (using the $58,710 I presented earlier). A football field is

57,600 square feet including the two end zones. If you were to take the presented figure of $2.50

a square foot for natural turf grass the total would add up to $144,000, still expensive such much,

much more cost-effective. Then you would have to add in the cost of maintenance which can run
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from $23,250 up to $205,500 depending on the turf and the selected maintenance tools. Just the

cost of watering either type of turf can run a school up to $35,000 a season.

We lay down new turf more frequently than we present students with new materials such

as desks. There were two major types of desks that I can remember being prominent when I went

to high school, these ranged from $129.95 to $159.95 (Top 9000, If you were to

take the highest priced desk and multiply it by let's say 25 to represent a rather large classroom it

would cost you $3,998.75, roughly $4,000 to give a whole classroom new desks. If a school were

to pay $1,000,000 to lie down new turf then they are missing the chance to spend that money on

furnishing 250 classrooms with new desks. Most schools do not even have 250 classrooms, so

this could provide the entire school with new desks with money to spare. The average high

school textbook costs around $70 and if a student has 7 classes a day then that is roughly $490

worth of textbooks per student (“Textbooks vs. Tablets: Schools begin exploring transformation

in learning tools” 2013).

Throughout my high school career, we were presented with outdated textbooks, many

containing signatures of students from 10 or 15 years ago. Students cannot keep up with the

ever-growing curriculum of our education system with 10-year-old textbooks. Many schools

have resorted to using tablets instead of textbooks in order to stay up to date and it is cheaper.

"IPads” cost about $379 ( and an e-book for the iPad can range from 5-30

dollars and is a one buy for every student to use. By laying down a million dollar turf a school

would also miss out on the opportunity to provide roughly 2,638 students with iPads. Needless to

say, by laying down new turf as often as needed and by providing free uniforms and other things

to our athletes we are taking away from our students, we are taking away from the majority and

then providing them with desks that are in ruins and outdated textbooks.
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While I feel strongly about this issue I do not by any means believe that sports should be

taken away. Sports help people to branch out, be social, and learn who they are. Sports teams

provide many students with a place that they feel accepted. Games also help to bring in revenue

for the school. The high school I went to, Franklin High School in Franklin North Carolina; was

huge on football. Half the town seemed to be at each game and with the tickets at $7 a pop it was

a good way to make money, and that is not even including the student-run concession stand. But

just because they made the money does not mean that they deserve all of it. The money should at

least partially be put towards bettering the school which would benefit everyone. By use

spending more money on sports and leaving the academics with nothing we are showing our

students that athletics are more important than their academics which is never a good state of

mind to put someone in.

High school and college sports are important just like academics but in my opinion,

academics deserve more. I played soccer in high school so I am not rooting against a side I know

nothing about. Soccer helped me to become who I am today, it helped me adjust to life in a new

school since I had just moved into that school. But seeing the football field nice and green

constantly and then turning around and seeing broken desks covered in inappropriate drawings in

every classroom really helped to open my eyes.

The obvious competition between athletics and academics is something that I believe will

always be there but should at least be leveled out more. Athletics should be provided with what

they need not what they want and the same thing with academics. New desks and updated

textbooks are a need while a $1,000,000 for a football field to be turfed is a want. I also think

that teachers and coaches should be paid more since they are the basis of our country. If anyone
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were to look at the figures I feel as if they would agree, academics need more attention while

athletics need less.

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Works Cited

"Costs: Synthetic Turf". Safe Healthy Playing Fields Coalition, 2018, Accessed 30 Apr 2018.

Duvall, Adam. "The Cost Of Football: A Look At The Price Of Uniforms". Journal Star. 26 Aug.
2015. Accessed 30 Apr

Dorfman, Jeffrey. "Low Teacher Pay and High Teacher Pay Are Both Myths". Forbes.Com, 7
Aug. 2014.
and-high-teacher-pay-are-both-myths/#4b31645531af. Accessed 30 Apr 2018.

Figueroa, Ariana. "How Much Do Teachers Spend On Classroom Supplies?". NPR.Org. 19 Dec.
spend-on-classroom-supplies. Accessed 30 Apr 2018.

Ripley, Amanda. "The Case Against High-School Sports". The Atlantic. October 2013.
sports/309447/. Accessed 30 Apr 2018.

"Some Schools Spend 10 Times More On Athletes Than Students: Report". Huffpost, 21 June
spending_n_619201.html. Accessed 30 Apr 2018.

"Textbooks Vs. Tablets: Schools Begin Exploring Transformation In Learning Tools". News
Tribune. 7 July 2017.
begin-exploring-trans/518400/. Accessed 30 Apr 2018.

Top, 9000. "9000 Series Tablet Arm School Desk With Book Rack & Solid Plastic
Top". Schoolsin, 2018,
Accessed 30 Apr 2018.