Dr. Jason Sosa, a professor in Rice University’s Sport Management Department, was featured on Fox 26 Morning News Extra mid-January to discuss a recent CNN story exposing the shockingly low reading scores of college athletes across the nation.
The CNN report investigates the allegations that colleges, in hopes of boosting their athletic programs, admit athletes who severely lack the academic qualifications necessary to do well in those schools. CNN filed open record requests for SAT and ACT entrance exam scores at 37 public universities where open record laws apply. They received responses from 21 of those universities, including highly-ranked football schools such as Texas A&M University and Ohio State University.
Focusing solely on the revenue-generating sports, football and basketball, CNN found that most schools had between 7-18% of basketball and football athletes scoring so low on the reading portion of their exams that experts said they’d only be reading at an elementary school level. To read at only an elementary school level, athletes would have an ACT score of 16 or less or below a 400 on the reading portion of the SAT.
Along with hindering the athletes’ educational experiences in college, the effect of low reading scores continues after graduation, too. In the NCAA, less than 2% of football and basketball college athletes go on to play professionally. This statistic means that nearly all college football and basketball players will have to find jobs after graduation that take into account more than just their athletic abilities. With such low reading scores, these athletes may struggle to find jobs.
Sosa praises the schools that stress the importance of both academics and athletics, such as Duke University, Vanderbilt University, Stanford University, and Rice.
“We have to refocus on what is most important…academics come first,” explained Sosa. “Institutions [succeed when] the university president…speaks out and says we are going to uphold the integrity of our academics and our athletics, and make our student athletes be students first and athletes second.”
Molly Mohr, a junior from San Antonio, is double majoring in Sport Management and English and minoring in Business.