Friday, November 7, 2008

Affect of Foreign College Athletes

I am a UW athlete on the swim. I am interested to see how people feel about foreigners competeing in the U.S. for college sports. I know it is not a common thing is some market sports like football or basketball, but how do you people feel when you see college programs choosing in most cases older foreign athletes over local or national recruits. As a swimmer I know that foreign athletes have hindered scholarship offers for U.S. recruits. With high pressure for programs to succeed every year I have seen college programs choose foreign athletes that can sometimes come in as 20+ year old freshman. I feel that foreign athletes have hindered American recruits and their chances at swimming in college. With foreign athletes taking scholarhips away from swimming programs that only have a handful of scholarship money to pass it only makes it more competetive for swimmers and other athletes to get the chance to compete at the collegiate level. I'm interested to see how everyone feels about foreign athletes in college.


John Tao said...

I think that it makes the sport more competitive so I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with drafting foreign athletes.

I do find a problem with the fact, if true, of 20+ year old freshmen coming in because of sports. I think the sports should be limited so people of the same age group especially are competing against each other otherwise it becomes unfair.

MAGICMAN13 said...

I will agree that having international collegiate athletes raises the competition, but why should it be allowed that they take away oppurtunities away from U.S. prep athletes. It is tough enough to get into college these days and if U.S. prep athletes are losing what may be their only way into higher education to someone who in some cases just coming here to use the facilities of universities to train and represent their country in international competition.

I also think that if you seperate competition by age group you are just turning college athletics into a carbon copy of high school sports. Don't limit someones success on their age by saying they can only compete at this athletic competition because they are only a freshman. That is wrong. My argument with 20+ year old freshman in sports and that these athletes are choosing to come to the states not for higher education but rather just taking advantage of the U.S. for their superior training facilities. Some may disagree with me but as a collegiate athlete I know who comes to the states for education and who comes for athletic reasons.

John Tao said...

Okay, so I think there are some things to clarify here.

First, you argue that US prep athletes are losing what "may be their only way into higher education to someone who in come cases just coming here to use the facilities of universities to train and represent their country in international competitions."

A) Are you then arguing that US prep athletes are trying to get into higher education through sports because they have no other means to? This seems to imply to me that they're not qualified to get into Universities on other merit.

B) If other students are coming to the US to train and they have the qualifications then, again, why should it matter because it increases competition which encourages everyone to do their best.

Second, you argue that "these athletes are choosing to come to the states not for higher education but rather just taking advantage of the U.S for their superior training facilities."

A) This is pretty much the previous argument except you add a bit more detail to it which helps clarify your position.

I think the problem I have with your argument is that you assume that American athletes want to enter the world of higher education for the sake of education and not for the sake of sports. At least, that's what it sounds like to me. You argue that foreign athletes are coming in just for athletic reasons and that you know this as a collegiate athlete.

My argument to that is:

1) There are academic standards which need to be met in order to be a collegiate athlete and to stay at the university, if a student is able to meet these standards then their motives as to why they're here should not matter.

2) As a former collegiate athlete I found the opposite to be true. I found that foreign athletes were here for education first and merely used their athletic prowess to get into the university.

B) In my mind it comes down to this. Higher education is about academic achievement. Everything else is something on the side. If foreign athletes are able to come in, train for their countries, and still succeed academically then there's no reason for them not to be here.

True, American athletes will be facing more competition but I think the competition is a good thing. The American athletes are competing for limited opportunities, opportunities which are available for anyone who is eligible. Isn't that one of the great things about America? Equal opportunity for everyone to succeed, if they can.

oz3321 said...

I agree with the above comment that there is no reason that foreign students should be able to come into the US and play sports for at a collegiate level. As was said above, I know that there are a lot of exceptions made for collegiate players who barely miss the admission requirements or are just above them. Many athletes are accepted to large division I colleges solely on the fact that they are athletes.

As mentioned above, if a foreign student has better academic qualifications and they can also compete athletically there should be no reason they should not be allowed to compete.

As a bit of an aside, should we start not allowing foreign STUDENTS to come to our universities as well? They are, after all, essentially taking the spots of American students.

My point here is, that this argument boils down to the issue of open borders vs. closed ones. On the face of it the link between foreign athletes playing in college and Toyota making cars in the US isn't extremely clear. But these to issues are fundamentally similar. Many people oppose foreign companies coming to the US, foreign students coming over, and foreign athletes may be the newest gripe. I think, though, that the argument for allowing the previous two will play well with the third. The fact that exposure to, and competition with, foreigners should increase the quality level of Americans as they have to train harder to become better than their competitors which should make the American swimmers better in the end.

MAGICMAN13 said...

John, when I say that athletics may be a US athletes only ticket to higher education I am not saying that for the sake that they are not academically eligible for the schools, take into consideration that with the way the economy is and with the price of shcools most athletes couldn't afford to go to the school of their choice. I know that if I didn't have my scholarship I would no be at the University of Wisconsin. I know a lot of athletes that face that financial burden.
Your right allowing foreign athletes into collegeiate sports does raise competition, but wouldn't you expect that if they are coming here to compete in their 20s? You cannot tell me that Cesar Celio the NCAA record holder in the 50 and 100 free (now professional) came to the States to recieve a higher education. He came here to train for the Olympics and get the oppurtunity to turn professional in his home country of Brazil. It is naive to think that a 20 plus year old would choose to come here just for education and then turn professional in is sport before he even finishes his collegiate career.
The perfect example to show what foreign athletes are really here for is Auburn's mens swim team. Their team is compiled of many foreign athletes and has the lowest team GPA in Division I swimming and diving.
I have had conversations with foreign swim recruits that have told me they are not here in the states for school, but only to get faster at swimming.
Now I am not saying all foreign athletes are here to just compete and use the US for its training facilities, but a large number atleast in my sport do. What I wish college programs would do is recruit American first give OUR athletes the best oppurtunities to succeed in not only their sport, but their education too. I think foreign athletes should be the second thought on a collegiate coaches mind not first.

John Tao said...

"What I wish college programs would do is recruit American first give OUR athletes the best oppurtunities to succeed in not only their sport, but their education too."

What's to say that our athletes want the best in their education?

MAGICMAN13 said...

I would say our athletes do want the best in their education. The chances of turning pro or taking your college sport beyond college competition is ridiculously low. With NCAA rules now athletes have to make progress towards their majors or they will not be eligible. If you want to argue that it applys to foreigners as well I will agree, but some foreign athletes leave college to turn pro in their sport in their country before they even finish college.
I'm not saying Americans stay all 4 years because in reality with football and basketball this does not happen as much as it should, but in sports like swimming and other smaller sports staying 4 years and then moving on into the job market is most likely what the goal is for the american student-athlete. Unlike foreign athletes who have the oppurtunity to get paid hundred of thousands of dollars to compete for their nation.
I stand by my argument that Universities should recruit american born athletes before foreign. Their are plenty of good Universities and schools outside the U.S. It's the facilities and variety of cocahing staff that bring the foreign athletes here.

John Tao said...

I would then recommend that our American born athletes apply for academic merit based scholarships since they should be able to qualify for those before the foreign born athletes who are "not here for their education".

MAGICMAN13 said...

Your missing the whole point of my argument. Everyone knows there is a difference between academic and athletic scholarships. For someone to be on an ATHLETIC scholarship says something of their accomplishments how good they are in their sport. Why should we be forced to apply for academic when local athletes should and could be recieving the ATHLETIC scholarships they deserve. Point and simple why should we help countries athletes before our own that does not make anysense.

Also your twistin my words making my argument say ALL foreign athletes arent here for school. I am saying I know a majority that are not here for academic reasons in my sport. America is not the only place that has great Universities there are Universities all over the world that great. Why do they not go to those ones? I'll tell you its because we have great schools AND great coaching and work out facilities.
Maybe for the sport you competed in is different from mine. But in the swim world NCAAs has just become a World Championship meet because of all the foreign athletes that have come to compete. School for at least MY sport does not bring the athletes. Its the competition and chances to get great coaching, use our facilites and get paid by their countries to compete.

John Tao said...

I understand your view but for me it comes down to the fact that if people from other countries can do it (make it here on athletic scholarships) then they have every right to it.

I think, I view this as more of an equal opportunity issue. Everyone has an equal chance in the US (mind you, this is slightly tainted and there could be an entire discussion on affirmative action). If these foreign athletes, no matter how they managed to get here, qualified to be here then they deserve to have the scholarships and the opportunities that everyone else has.

In terms of sports, these foreign athletes are still representing the schools that they are attending. By having better athletes our sports performance increases which helps benefit the school (somehow, I personally don't care for sports as much so I'm not sure what the value of having a good team is necessarily). Schools would then, of course be tempted to take/ recruit these individuals who are academically competitive enough to matriculate to the school and who have strong athletic performance. For the school it's a win.

I understand your concern and your perspective, but for me I'll maintain that we should focus on competition. The foreign athletes will help drive competition up, forcing US athletes to be more competitive which will ultimately be beneficial in the long run.

I don't know that we have better facilities, but assuming that it's true (and I see no reason to doubt you) then why shouldn't foreign athletes have access to it if they are eligible for it? Why shouldn't we allow people from foreign countries to come in, if they qualify?

Sorry this response is scattered all over the place.