Importance of Sports for Universities

Sports programs benefit colleges in multiple ways.
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When Leonardo da Vinci created his Vitruvian Man, he showcased how the human form embodies the principals of architecture at its peak of perfection. He also revealed that the body and its abilities are just as vital to intelligence as is the mind. College sports embody this concept: They showcase athletic intelligence alongside academic victories. From better student grades to strong community roots, college sports provide the gears that run universities. Sports teams can bring in millions in revenue, raise enrollment, and help secure strong alumni networks through sports programs.

1 College Sports Bring Big Revenue

Sports draw millions in revenue to colleges.
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College sports bring big bucks to academic institutes. Just go to ESPN’s college sports site and you can delve into the details behind the financial powerhouse of college sports. Athletic departments bring money into the college through ticket sales, donations, merchandising and media rights. Just look at the financial impact University of Wisconsin’s sports had on the college. In 2008 the Badgers earned $26,936,910 in ticket sales, $5,660,555 in media rights and $2,705,018 in branding. These areas and others brought Wisconsin a total year’s revenue of $95,118,124 making them the eighth most profitable college of the year. Alabama came in first with a total revenue of $123,769,841.

2 Nonprofessional College Sports and Grades

Students who engage in campus sports prove to get higher grades.
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Even if college sports aren’t at the national collegiate professional level, they hold importance to maintaining student grade point averages. "The New York Times" revealed a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine that links vigorous exercise to higher grades in college. Researchers tracked the grades and exercise habits of 266 undergraduates. They found that students who regularly participated in activities like basketball and other rigorous sports held and maintained higher grade point averages. Clearly the endorphins released in exercise that promote better concentration and more energy in post-workout mode play a role in college grades.

3 Uniting the College With the Community

College sports provide a gateway to drawing support from local community members.
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College sports have a great way of uniting communities with local colleges. The more success a sports team has, the more opportunities there are for drawing in members of the community. This will help boost tuition and local support. This is especially the case if the college is in an area where pro sports don’t exist. Just visit Nebraska, and anyone wearing sports gear will be boasting Cornhuskers garb.

College sports offer a powerful community outreach tool that showcases the university’s academic programs and missions. Often colleges will hold fundraisers, put on plays, and give lectures to which community members can purchase tickets. The sports program is the face of the college that communities first see. Without a strong sports team, a college can be virtually ignored by locals.

4 Community Relations Continued

College sports help bars stay in business across the country.
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Colleges can take pride in knowing that their sports departments help boost the local economy. College sports bars are big business and provide jobs to locals and help keep the economy thriving. College sports teams help stimulate economies on the other side of the country. If you are a Boston College fan living in San Diego, you can go to RT’s Longboard Grill where everyone is a die-hard Eagles fan. Thanks to strong alumni associations and successful collegiate sports teams, thousands of businesses are springing up and strengthening economies across the country all while shouting “go team!”

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.