The most popular sports in a community can be represented in any number of divisions or ‘tiers’ – Baseball alone is found at the pro-level in many nations, but it is also a prestigious activity at the college and high school levels, and even among the young crowds of ‘Little League’, who are just starting out their athletic (and, potentially, lifelong) careers. Modern, professional-level football/rugby was even founded in a collegiate environment in England during the 19th century. Naturally, only the professional-level teams and games of most sports capture a national community’s attention to any significant degree, but over time, many college sports have developed rivalries between schools, and grown in following to compete with even the pro-sports industry in multiple ways. What is the relationship between college-level and professional sports, and how are college athletics influencing culture and society of the modern world?
‘College Sport’ Tiers
One of the best specimens of a country with heavy involvement in college sports is the United States. In the U.S., college sports are generally based on two main categories – “sanctioned” and “unsanctioned.” Sanctioned collegiate sports are very akin to the world of the professionals; participation is not global, meaning that only the best are selected to compete. The stakes are, by extension, high in this category, and divisions that fall under it can be thought of as a gateway for rising athletes into the realm of pro-sports. A renowned example of this sanctioned sports category features the rivalry between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles. By contrast, unsanctioned collegiate sports are more recreationally-focused and all-inclusive; they also include sports clubs and recreational organizations. Unsanctioned collegiate sports are usually less popular from a competitive standpoint, but are still enjoyed by a wide variety of athletes.
Public Opinion of College Sports
Depending on the popularity of each particular sport, college athletics can be an effective source of revenue for universities. The collegiate sport that brings in “the big bucks” is, unsurprisingly, football. Football among large colleges and universities across the United States collectively produce hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and for most schools, this cherished sport generates enough money to fund all other athletic activities on campus. Men’s basketball trails modestly behind, but is pretty much the only college sport remotely worthy of the title “second place.” A good season of basketball for most universities amounts to barely half of the money generated by America’s modern favorite. When it comes to managing business, marketing, and opportunity, the N.C.A.A. (The National Collegiate Athletic Association) holds the crown in America.
The Influence of the Community
College sports remain a fundamentally critical facet of society as a professional entertainment outlet for the national community, a path for young, budding athletes towards a big-leagues career, or even as a recreational hobby promoting comradery and discovery in schools. The role of the individual, as well as the public community, in keeping college sports alive and in force cannot be ignored.