OP-ED: The sports industry is pointless

Sports are pointless in the 21st century. This is not an attack on the Texans or TexAnns, I am very proud of all the things that our sports teams are achieving and doing this season. However, at the end of the day, they are still pointless. The sports industry is an industry which fuels itself, causes unnecessary injuries and is costly. 

Take football for example. The whole point of football is a group of guys who are aligned with a school or a professional organization, are trying to run over a line on a field to score. Once one group of guys scores more than the other group of guys, a winner is declared. If a team is so good at running a ball over a line, they will eventually get to a championship of some sort. In this championship they will receive a trophy and a ring. And that’s it. In a few months the football team will start up again trying to run a ball over a line in a field and beat all the other teams. You can take this same line of logic and apply it to every sport.  I am not discrediting the skill and ability it takes to play sports, they all have more talent in their sport than I do. But ultimately, what do sports achieve? The only purpose of a sports team is to defeat another sports team. Outside of that, they have ultimately no purpose.

I do understand that winning championships can bring attention to the school and increase applications. However, are there not better ways to receive attention for a high school or college? Why not focus on graduation rates and the academics at the college, Ivy league colleges have football teams, but ivy league colleges also have an amazing academics presence at their college and very successful graduates.

Many supporters of sports will argue that sports teach teamwork, camaraderie and discipline. Yes, the sports will teach them that. But that is not the only way to learn those skills. I believe that I have teamwork, camaraderie and discipline; but I don’t attribute that to sports alone. Those skills can be achieved through a variety of ways. 

The sports industry also leads to countless injuries which happen at nearly every level. Take Pee-Wee sports. The athletes are young children who will tear their ACL and have to wear a brace at 13 years old. A 13 year old had to have an ACL surgery and will forever has a messed up knee, because they were playing a sport which ultimately means nothing. At the professional level the injuries only get worse. According to the Brain Injury Research Institute there are an estimated 1.6-3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions which happen every year. According to BIRI in 2001-05 an estimated $2.4 million sports related injuries occurred in children and youth aged 5-18. 

There are quite literally millions of people who are getting injured each and every year for a sport and they probably won’t ever play professional, yet those individuals have still life altering injuries. 

The sports industry and sports in general is also highly expensive. Tarleton is a perfect example of that. The new stadium which Tarleton is building cost $10 million just through private funds. Even without the money from Tarleton and the A&M system, $10 million is a lot. How many buildings or departments at Tarleton could use that money to fund new research projects? How many academic buildings could be upgraded? How much could Tarleton fund back into student success? This also accounts for all the money in Tarleton’s budget which also goes to purchase jerseys, hire the best coaches, buy new equipment, paying for trainers and the list goes on. 

Once again, I am not attacking athletes at Tarleton. They are very talented athletes who are dominating their sports right now. But, in 10 years people will remember that Tarleton helped fund amazing research projects and discover things. The sports industry is an expensive industry which causes unnecessary injuries and is only relevant inside the sports industry.