John Gerdy first explores the history and role of athletic programs within higher education institutions, and how that role is evolving. He then offers a philosophical rationale for setting a new standard against which the success of college athletic programs should be measured. Rather than focusing on the level of funds generated, or on the number of championships won, this new standard offers a basis for determining how successful a college athletic program is in helping the institution meet educational goals. Gerdy identifies and develops the three fundamental principles upon which this new standard should operate: First, that college athletics is, first and foremost, about the student athlete; second, that coaches and athletic administrators are, above all else, teachers and educators; and, finally, that athletics is a part of, not apart from, the higher education community. The author concludes by outlining specific changes that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should make to implement this new standard. Gerdy also looks at what the future could hold for colleges and universities willing to adopt athletics as a tool for meeting the institution’s broader objectives.
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