Are Sports More Important than School?

2010/02/14
By Student

photo by crashmaster007

by Hope

75% of parents let their child skip an exam for an important game, and only 47% of musicians’ parents would let them skip an exam for a concert or performance. A study conducted at the University of Haifa by Sharon Yaniv, Prof. Ron Lidor and Prof. Avigdor Klingman looked at 203 students in 7th to 12th grade in northern Israel in four different schools who play in sports leagues, seventy parents, six coaches, four team managers, ten educational counselors, and five school study counselors. Some of the students were on the school all-star teams, others were on active sport leagues, and the rest as the control group, were student musicians. This study not only looks at how many parents would let their child skip an exam, but it also looks at teenagers’ moods, disappointment, frustration and if they receive preferential treatment.

The teenagers’ moods had different effects with the participation of sports. All three groups had a high percentage of being in a good mood; 97% of all-star sports; 92% of those in sport leagues; and 88% of musicians. However, 80% of all-star sportsman reported that the sports might cause them to be in a bad mood, while 51.1% of those in sports leagues and only 28% of musicians. Participation in sports also causes athletes more disappointment; 70% of all-star athletes; 60% of players in sports leagues; and only 28% of musicians. Disappointment is also related to frustration; 66% percent of all-star athletes; 50% of those in sports leagues and 32% of musicians.

Athletes who represent the school receive preferential treatment. 63% of all-star athletes said that schools gave them special consideration, compared to 52% of musicians, and 40% of those in sport leagues. Also, the all-star players said the schools help give them extended deadlines for essays, homework, reports, etc., while the musicians only had 44% and the sport leagues 33%. In addition, 63% of all-stars said the schools helped them with tutoring sessions, while those in sport leagues had 11% and only 8% musicians.

photo by Joseph Gilbert

After those facts, it is no surprise that the principals interviewed said,” Sports is one of the most popular interests in the school. This can be seen by the fact that the athletes’ needs are met through designing special programs, consideration of their needs, consideration of their teachers, competitions and placing the school athletics program high on our list of priorities…Sports is as popular a subject as communications and electronics, but sports raise school pride while other areas of study do not.” But the guidance counselors said exactly the opposite,” They are cognizant of their own needs but not the needs of others. It’s not a good part of their character, or their personality; the contempt for others, their condescending behavior and their feeling of superiority.”

The researchers summarized,” For young athletes, those that are active in sports leagues and primarily those that represent their school, there are unique needs that require special handling. Given that, the focus on athletic achievements and the pride they bring the school could harm other educational values that students should be taught.”

What Do You Think? Do You Think Being An Athlete Affects Your Personality? Do Athletes At Your School Get Special Treatment Like The Ones Above? Does Being An Athlete Affect Your Mood?

  • Ms Baker

    Hope’s questions to you are great and I’m really excited to hear your opinions. However, let’s enrich our comments with additional research we can find on this subject matter. Hope’s study was written about in 2008. What new evidence has been gathered since then? Critique the experiments you read about (including the one Hope has written about) in your comments.

    I look forward to your comments!

  • Lionel

    Hi Hope, (me being an athlete) I think that people who play sports are mostly in good moods being they love the sport they play. Getting a chance to fulfill your passion is one of the best feelings in the world. Another thing is that, playing sports keep you occupied and not bored. Also, playing sports on a team, and traveling to other places gives you a chance to meet new people and opens up your social opportunities. Great post, and I’m sure you will get more athletes who will comment on this and have many different views. Good topic selection.
    Also, people who are athletes, normally don’t get “special treatment” but they have certain privileges that non-athletes have. For example if a school has a dress code, and a team has to leave before school ends to get to a game. They can change into their sports uniforms during the course of the school day to save time instead of changing at the venue where the game will be played. Also another good example of this is scholarships. Big name basketball programs such as Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky give multiple scholarships to give to basketball players because of the rank that their basketball program carries. They get more scholarships that other schools get because the basketball program gets the funds that can be re-instated (Right word?) into the basketball program again.
    I hope i helped, again great post, and great post topic.

  • Jesse

    There are several things that effect your personality but I definetly think athletics are one because in school sports sometimes mean popularity. In my school if you play a sport and if you have an away game you get to most likely get to leave early. On the other hand, if you play an instrument you never get to leave class early for anything at anytime. Also if you play for an extra league you could have a tourtament and leave for a day or two. Being an athlete definetly effects your mood in several ways because in my life, I play golf all year round and if I play bad I come into school mad, on the contrary if I play well I come into school very happy because I did well. http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED151354&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED151354 <- , that study was done in Canada and it was for 18 and older Canadians in college for academics to school.

  • Lionel
  • bobby

    i think that everybody is different and it depends greatly on the students passion for the sport and theyre drive for what they are doing in school. also i think it highly effects personality because lets face it your not going to be passionate about both your sport and your academics unless you work at it. and athletes are normally seen as popular kids because they are more social because they are in social settings more often because of theyre sports teams. Though i dont see how you can have a study on peoples moods. it seems like a very hard thing to be accurate with. It just seems like an impossible way to messure it. also when you ask the questions people are not always telling the truth and arent always correct.

  • http://plague-erism.blogspot.com/ amy breslin

    Hi! I am not sure if I am allowed to comment here as I am not a student at your school… but here goes
    I was a swimmer in high-school and, while I did not participate in sports in college I gained a valuable perspective on this subject, that of the non-athlete. Sports are valuable to shaping one’s character and developing a team-oriented work ethic. However, I am not entirely certain that sports are so valuable that we should prioritize them over academia.

    Great post and really nice summary of the research :)

  • Rohit

    This was a very interesting post. I think that if you did the same experiment at a different place your results would be completely different because it depends on what kind of people you are testing. Everyone is different so there will have to be different results. I think that being an athlete does affect your personality because if you’re a hard-working athlete that always practices a sport, you probably will be hard-working with other things such as school. Athletes at our school do not get special treatment like the ones mentioned above. I don’t think that being an athlete affects your mood because when you are not playing a certain sport your mood should always be the same unless something happened such as a bad grade on a test.

    I have found a similar study about musicians having more IQ than non-musicians. I also disagree with this because it matters how smart you are for your IQ to be high. Here’s the link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172542.htm

  • Amy

    I think that this is an extremly interesting article and the comments above give even more insight into the topic. I am an athlete and a musician and I find these results to be some what close to both sides. At my school, athletes do not get the special privileges listed in the post, but there is favoratism towards athletes over musicians. For a sports game, students get to leave early but for a music concert or rehersal, students do not get to skip any academic classes or assignments. I think that academics should come first over athletics because even though being on a sports tem can help you socially and improve your self confidence, good grades will get you into college and will help you succeed.
    Being an athlete can affect your mood if you are a serious athlete. If athletics are all that you do then it will greatly affect your mood, but if you are not that passionate about athletics and you have other interests it will not affect your mood as greatly. For musicians, you could have the same moods, depending on the person and their passions.
    In response to Rohit’s comment, it is clinically proven that musicians have a higher IQ than non-musicians. This is partly because most musicians have been training since they were young and there brains are easily influenced. In a test, the results were that the changes in the brain occured in the brainstem. The results prove that being a musician not only affects your thought but it affects the part of your brain that controls important body functions like breathing and your heartbeat.
    http://www.livescience.com/health/070319_music_brainstem.html

  • Sam

    I believe that academics should always come first and different privileges should not affect someone’s opinion on their hobby or love for a musical instrument or a sport. I think sports definitely shape ones character in many ways. Sports gives people a new outlook on professional golfers and basketball players and helps them understand situations these people are put in. Like i said earlier i think academics should take priority over sports, but parents, kids and coaches may disagree. For example, if someone really wants to go to a certain college and they are being recruited for basketball, then they need to keep their statistics up and concentrate on the games because sometimes colleges are looking for better athletes then they are looking for better students. http://www.jjhuddle.com/news/articles/2009/6/9/athletics-more-important-than-academics-south-western-school-district-is-hoping-so
    This site is an example of a school that was so involved in their academics that they lost sight of their students participating in athletics and finally brought back competitive leagues for their students to participate in.

  • Matt C.

    I think it depends on the person and whether how serious they take the sport answers your question on whether being an athlete affects your personality. While looking for research I could not find evidence that being an athlete affects your mood, but I did find that music that an athlete listens can affect there mood.http://athletewhisperer.blogspot.com/2006/11/sports-performance-and-music.html. For example in this article it states that if you listen to pop you are belonging. If you listen to new age music you get relaxed. I believe that this article doesn’t speak for all athletes as each one is their own individual but I believe this article that was taken speaks for most athletes.

  • Deanna

    As an athlete, to answer your questions I think sometimes being an athlete affects your mood. It depends on the game, and how well you play. Your parents can also be a factor to affecting your mood when you’re an athlete. They constantly push you, and expect you to keep up with sports and school. If you do bad in a game, or lose your mood changes. You may feel mad or upset. If you play well and win your game your mood might be happy, or cheerful. Well that’s what happens to me anyways. At my school I think if you have a lot of work and no time to keep up with it, then I think teachers may give you an extension. Only if you’re a hard working student. We do have other privileges from students who aren’t on athletic teams. We can leave early for away game, only if we ask our teachers politely. We also can get changed during lunch time into our uniforms.

    I hope I helped you out, interesting post.

  • Guy

    I thought this artical was very interestering. I belive most althetes of my age think sports are more important than school. I dont think so, but sometimes i do use sports as an exuse for a missing homework or not studing for a test. I love atheltics I am a baseball and basketball player, but they do effect me. They make me tired during the next day and sometimes I am to tired to do homework. Also my shcool exculeds you from class if you need to go to a sporting event. Sports sometimes effects my mood cause sometimes I don’t feel like doing school work afterwards. for more info: http://www.sports-media.org/sportapolisnewsletter19.htm

  • Anna

    Hope, this is a great article. I agree with Sam, school should always come first and be your main priority. Like the other people who participated in commenting on this blog, I play sports as well. My opinion on your question, I strongly believe that athletics affect your mood. Like most people have mentioned doing well in a game will most likely put you in a good mood. If you play sports and you don’t play as well as you should of, or you don’t even get to play at all this will bring people down. Who would actually be excited if you don’t do well in a game? Athletes believe they can use the excuse of a game or practice for not completing their work, or not studying as much as they should. Sports take up a lot of time and it is a big commitment.
    Here is an article about how exercise boosts your mood. +http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151571.php

  • Chris

    As a kid you like to be active and hangout with your friends. Sports and other outside of school activities can be very time consuming. I think academics should always come first though. Most parents push their children to play sports, and I do think sports can affect your attitude, but it depends on the game you play and how much pressure your parents put on you. Some kids who play sports might get a cocky attitude because of how well they play. They sometimes put other kids down if they are not as good as them. In games they might make other kids feel bad. I think the rules are in my school are I you are a good student and try hard you and get special treatment. Only if you ask the teacher nicely and you are constantly hard- working. I hope I helped you with your post.

  • http://saddlebredrescue.com Erin

    Like many people above have stated, academics are the first priority. However, the sport I participate in a bit different from what others have said. I am an equestrian and showing is an important part in getting into a good college with an equally good equestrian team. So if qualifying for nationals means that I miss some exams of classes then so what? How my rides go over the weekend and how I place at shows influence my mood more than anything else. It also depends on how serious you are about the sport. Many times I show up to school bleary eyed and exhausted from my activities at the barn. At my school we don’t have an equestrian team but your average team player will leave school early for away games and occasionally be excused from certain assignments for homework. Despite this there has to be a balance between athletics and academics.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/11/sports/soccer/11vecsey.html

  • Charlot

    This article is very interesting and in my opinion, academics should be a student’s first priority. Education is a child’s future and sports can be there to help but colleges are going to be looking at your transcripts. Even if they are looking to recruit you for a sports team you still have to have the grades. Sports are also a good way to build up a person’s self esteem and express what they love to do. In Hope’s article she states that the allstar athletes receive a lot more tutoring help than the musicians and the league players receive. I don’t think this is reasonable because it’s showing the allstar players that they are more important than the other students. This gives them a greater reason to be more egocentric. This is also bad for them because they are depending on other people to help them pass and they may no develop very good study habits on their own.
    In an article I found called, Academics and Athletics: Players, Coaches, Parents, Discuss Stiffer Guidelines, at http://news.google.com/newspapersnid=943&dat=19881207&id=G1sLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=blMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1603,2180523 the school was trying to make a rule that all students on a sports team had to have at least a D or better in all classes. If they didn’t, they would not be able to participate in that sport until the next grade-check date which was always 4 1/2 weeks away. This would give students the message that they have to take school seriously or their parents/teachers wouldn’t be lenient and just let them play. I think this is a better way to go because it shows students how to more responsible and independent and shows them that there are consequences and prices to pay when they don’t take schoolwork seriously. The school should also offer tutoring fairly to everyone.

  • Joseph

    Great post Hope. This topic, being that I play sports, is very interesting to me. First off, I am going to say that my family, as well as myself, agrees that school comes first, and sports second. I always do my homework and study for tests, regardless of me missing an exam or class for a game. However, I do enjoy going to sports events, such as basketball because I get to play and hang out with my friends. I get very angry within the game, but after (if it is a loss or a win) I just shake the other team’s hands and say “Good game.” For me, sports are about having fun. We aren’t pros, so I don’t take it extremely serious.
    I have played sports for my school, and for other sports leagues. I did notice that my school gave me a bit more freedom when playing for my school, instead of my other leagues. For example, if I had a game for my school I was allowed to be excused for the game and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. However, when I had an outer league game, my school didn’t allow me to be excused, and there was no excuse for not doing homework. I also had to attend the school’s game if I had an outer league game on the same day. If I didn’t, there would be consequences. Above all this, though, my school always puts academics first, no matter what. The athletic director even agrees that school should be your first priority.
    According to some of the research I found, sports can help you in succeeding academically. There are multiple reasons for this. The main reason is motivation. For example, if you are falling behind in a class, your school or parents will hold you off from your sports activities. You will be motivated to try hard and get your grades up, and also make sure that never happens again. Another reason is academic skills help you in your sports. You need memorization to memorize what you have to do. Or, in other cases, you need to think quickly, which math and reading can help you in. Also, traveling on buses and doing homework and studying on it can help create a skill where you can do your homework in any environment.
    You can find the rest of the information herehttp://math-and-reading-help-for-kids.org/articles/Athletics_v._Academics.html

  • Michael L

    This is a great post hope and personally to me I play basketball and to me school is still more important. I usually have Basketball practice until 5 and if I have a game I usually come home at around 8 or 9 and I do my homework usually to 12 at night. School though always comes first more than anything. Your transcript is what gets you into college not your sports. Also sports may help you if you are trying to get into a college but your grades are the main focus. Here is an example: http://www.collegesportsquest.com/ this website helps you if you are a good student athlete into a better college.

  • Michael L.

    To me school is more important than sports because that is just the way my father raised me. I play basketball and I try my hardest every day but when I come home I do my homework. Sports though also effects a person’s mood when you go into school, an example is if I lost my basketball game I wouldn’t be in the best mood going into school the next day. I tend to do my homework until 11 o’clock at night if I have a game which also affects my mood. Also sports can mean something with popularity which also depends on the sport but it could destroy someone’s personality which makes them do everything worse. Sports though in my opinion are in front of playing an instrument and to most people instruments are just an extra thing. Sports you get to leave school early and they can also help you get into schools but your transcript and grades are the main factor. An example of a person of a Canadian student who got into an IVY league college because of his grades and because he was good at baseball.

    http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/35/a1/18.pdf

  • Carl

    I believe that this is a great topic. I do agree with Joe when he says that sports help you succeed academically, but I find it more common in the case of individual sports, for example tennis, that children who excel in school are better at the sport. Strategy is very important in tennis, and in order to choose the correct strategy, one must have some intelligence.
    About the topic of the athletes who represent the school given better treatment, there are mixed views about whether this should be. According to the article below, better treatment of student athletes should not be permitted, students should be treated equally no matter if they are “athletes or computer wizards.” I agree with this statement. No one should be treated better than someone else in school. This only creates frustration in the students who aren’t being treated fairly and cause them to worry about other people and not themselves. In my research about favoritism in schools, I found an article about a survey done in a high school. This survey showed that most of the favoritism in this school was shown towards the football players.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/31/opinion/l-no-special-treatment-for-student-athletes-403389.html?pagewanted=1

    http://www.123helpme.com/preview.asp?id=36314

  • Adam

    Personally, I feel that school should always come before athletics. I always try to play my hardest whenever I’m in practice but at the end of the day, I’m mostly in my room doing my homework. Plus most people think of the likelihood of becoming a professional athlete. Some people might think that because 1 out of 16,000 people become professionals, then they think negatively about themselves and might give up on their dreams. But being an athlete is not about thinking about the possibility. It is about natural talent, diligent hard work, and pure athlete abilities. Sports can help you succeed in school for a number of reasons. First off, colleges look at your transcript not just for grades but for after school activities you do. Probably the first thing that they look for is if you play any sports. And if you are really talented, they can sometimes offer a full scholarship to their university. People like Sean McGonagill, a RB and basketball player from Riverside-Brookfield, get into Brown because they are not only talented at their sport, but also get solid grades in the classroom. But still, getting good grades are still the most important thing on your transcript. Also if you are failing in school, most schools won’t let you play until your grades improve, and that can possibly motivate you as the player to do better. So sports can help you academically. But being an athlete does have its positives. For example not being in dress code and leaving school early are some of the biggest advantages for being an athlete at Staten Island Academy.

    For me, I don’t take basketball that seriously. I do it to have fun and I really enjoy playing the game. This year I barley played and sat on the bench for most of the season. I’m not that competitive of a person either so whether we win or lost I always feel very calm after the game. But then again, I don’t really have a deep connection with basketball and don’t have a big enough passion about it to have the urge to go pro. I would much rather peruse other things like music. But people who are passionate about the game do take the game’s way to seriously, even its just a bad call from the referee. So I do think it can affect your personality because of two factors (1) The aggressiveness of the sport and how intense it is. For example people are more aggressive when they play football then people who play golf. (2) How passionate you are about the sport. Less passionate people don’t care as much about their achievements then passionate people. Some are really dangerous and can cause life threatening injuries. For example, many H.S. students today who play football are experiencing many head injuries such as concussions. Some concussions are so severe, that they cause permanent brain damage. And as the game gets more and more violent every year, the likely hood of concussions increase. It would make many people fell unsafe and can make people distracted during school. Overall, I feel that students should really focus on their academics, not on the big game they have today.

    http://rbclarion.com/sports/2009/10/16/rb-basketball-sensation-goes-division-1/

  • http://www.google.com Beth

    Helloo!! I think that this is a great article because sports does affect kids and their school work!(:

  • karen

    For me..study is more important than sports..because everything that we learn is important..when we growth..the first thing that we use to find our job is our result in school whether it result in primary school or secondary school.Yes,of course sports is important too but you must more concentrate in study especially those is still in school..As you know,sports just help us to make our body become more health..everyday we must exercise even just half an hours,that for making us more active..Maybe some of us said that sports is more important but for me it is fault..it is shown because it already done at me..yes,i admit..and i admit too that i did not know to divide my daily time..when i more active in sports,my result in study totally drop..that made me so sad..that why i want to try to more concentrated in my study and sorry i can”t support that sports is more important than study

  • http://www.mathtrench.com Jeremy Roberts

    Interesting post. I think that an interesting situation can occur in college, where in order to be at the top you will need lots of dedication, you will probably have to decide whether you want to be an athlete or you want a top GPA…

  • Shatira F.

    Great post. I think that education is more important than sports, because if you were to hurt yourself in any sport and you droped out of school to play that sport most likely you won’t get a very good job. I think it’s really sad that the parents of those athletes let them skip an important exam just to play a sport that they migjht lose.

  • Julieanne

    wow :)
    im an athlete and a student and my parents always said school before sports. If my grades start falling they make me bump my grade up before i do anything with my sport, but great blog

  • Bryan Ramirez

    Great post! I also think education is more important because if uyou don’t succed in your sport than you have a back up plan to lean on. This is why our parents always tell us to do good in school, and that school comes first. Yea sports are fun and if your good enough you can become pro but if your not then you need a good education.

  • Morris B

    It was really interesting on how 75% of parents let their children miss a school exam JUST to go to a game. You had lots of facts and was really believable. Great Post!

  • Leah Dyer

    I think that students shouldn’t skip school for sports because you could be taught something that could be valuable to your life in the future. On that note, people should care more about school rather than sports.

  • brandon

    My parents would make me go to the exam. It’s just one game your going to miss. Great Blog!

  • shanice

    I think that sometimes that sports can affect a students grades because the student is more worried about their sports instead there edducation I believe that grades should be more important than sports be cause sports arent going to get you anywhere in life you need something to fall back on it would be a great aspect to do and try and go to college also to get a degree not just for sports. dont get me wrong its great that you love the sport that you do its wonderful just make sure you have something to fall back on.

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