Shane Battier regrets how college sports have changed
Former NBA star Shane Battier is far removed from his days at Detroit Country Day and Duke University. He’s feeling a bit nostalgic about his days in Durham, but not only from the memories in Cameron Indoor.
He thinks college athletes need to be permitted more time to be college students, as well, and enjoy some of the non-sports experiences, as he did in the late 1990s.
In a thoughtful story he wrote for the Players Tribune, Battier, 38, explains that “a lot of things have changed since I was in school.”
Battier says: “During the basketball season, we were an elite athletic team that looked to go to the Final Four every year. But after the season was over Coach K would remind us, ‘Alright, don’t forget to be college kids. Hang out on the quad. Catch a baseball game. Experience it!’ He’d have us do two one-hour workouts a week but beyond that, we were regular college kids. We’d hang out, grab pizza at 2 a.m. and then stay up the rest of the night trying to cram for a test the next day, like all of our dorm mates did weekly. Stupid (but ultimately important) stuff like that. And honestly, those are really some of my best memories from that time in my life.
“A lot of things have changed since I was in school. Today, many student-athletes have schedules that budget their time down to the very last minute. Teams who are out of season have workouts that are ‘voluntary’ in name only. The reality is that for a lot of student-athletes there is no off-season, and certainly no time for whiffle ball. The reason for this is pretty clear. With so much money and so many jobs tied to the success of an athletic program, the athlete is often just treated as a proxy for a coach’s competency. If an athlete isn’t working on his game, then a coach must not be working him enough (or the coach is incompetent.) As a result, overscheduling is not just something that is afflicting suburban kids everywhere — it’s also affecting our college athletes as well.”
Battier also offers his opinion on compensation for college athletes, graduation rates, the value of an undergraduate degree, and career networking and athlete-alumni relationships.