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Nini: College sports is more about representation than money

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Collegian | Rashida Obika

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

College sports were under the spotlight as the NCAA national championships dominated headlines and captivated sports fans’ attention across the country, highlighting the unique qualities that separate collegiate athletes from their professional counterparts. The world of college athletics is where competition reveals its purest form, with celebrity athletes and million-dollar contracts ruling the scene.

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One of the biggest differences between professional and collegiate sports is how much money players get paid. College players don’t compete for monetary benefits but rather for the pure joy of the sport and the privilege of representing their university, in contrast to their professional-league rivals who command high wages for the work they put in. The absence of paychecks in collegiate sports highlights the purity of the competition, where victory is attained by hard work, sacrifice and determination. 

However, the camaraderie and school pride infused in collegiate athletics may be even more captivating than the games themselves. Beyond the confines of the field, collegiate athletics foster a deep sense of camaraderie, evident in everything from boisterous student sections to jubilant alumni. It is about honoring a legacy and custom that connect generations rather than just applauding a win. College athletics thus take on a significance beyond mere contests, serving as a symbol of school spirit and cohesion.

In addition, collegiate athletics provide a special avenue for young athletes to follow their goals and manage the pressures of education. These student-athletes are living examples of commitment and perseverance, as shown by the attention they receive for both their athletic and academic accomplishments. Each game turns into a new chapter in their adventure filled with learning, resiliency and self-discovery.

The competitive atmosphere of collegiate sports has an attraction all on its own, even though professional leagues pay more and have better players. Here, the unexpected might occur, and the underdog can become well-known, captivating audiences with stories of success against all odds. Every game is filled with this unpredictable, uncontrolled energy that serves as a constant reminder that anything is possible in collegiate athletics.

In contrast to college sports, professional leagues frequently get caught in issues regarding player behavior, financial inequality and the preference for profit over passion. Even though the best athletes may receive high compensation and have extraordinary skills, the commercial aspect of professional sports can occasionally taint the integrity of the competition. Fans who truly love the game may find themselves overwhelmed by the focus on sponsorship deals, longing instead for the true camaraderie and fierce rivalry that characterize college athletics.

College sports have captivated the attention of fans and motivated generations of players. The real meaning of sports competitions is not determined by the size of a paycheck but rather by the size of one’s motivation. Sports viewers are reminded of the enduring power of passion and pride and the pursuit of excellence as they gather to watch the exciting matchups and unforgettable moments of the NCAA national championships. This legacy extends beyond the court and leaves an enduring mark on the sports world.

Reach Hania Nini at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @HaniaNini123.

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