The NCAA, or the National Collegiate Athletics Association, is the stock market for athletes, fans, coaches, and much more. Most athletes dream of going “D1 ,”–for those who don’t know, that stands for ‘”Divison 1,” which is the highest rank for any athlete that plans on playing at the next level. Since the NCAA is the highest and most prestigious level for athletes, it only recruits the best of the best to play for them. Of course, you can’t have tip-top athletes without an equally high-class coach to train and support them.
Now this is where things get interesting. If the NCAA determines that you are one of the best players and accepts you to a college team, the scholarships will start coming in. They give you five years to play for them on an “athletic scholarship,” which essentially means that you’re playing the sport you’ve probably dedicated your entire life to with someone else’s money. The catch of this “free” education they are giving you, though, means that you have to obey the rules that come with it. You must have good grades–a talented student who doesn’t invest in their academic success as well isn’t worth wasting the money to sponsor. You are an investment to them; you’re playing on Saturdays, having fans come to the games, filling up the seats, and buying merchandise, food and drinks. You are an asset to them. You must perform to your highest ability both inside and outside of the classroom. When you are not at your best, it makes them look bad–as if you’re just there to hold a space on a depth chart and a seat on the bench. To them, you might as well be a waste of space if you don’t dedicate the time and effort to performing at your top level. Now, if the team as a whole isn’t doing well, it’s often the coaches’ fault, and tends to generate a lack of interest, which loses money for the program. Fans make everything happen–with little to no fans, there is no money to be made. That’s when coaches get hired and fired to help bring in money for the program . No one wants to pay to come see “losers” all the time because they want to feel like they’re on the team that is proving itself worthy and crushing its opponents in defeat. The fans want to be a part of the game, and they won’t support the team with their money unless they feel it’s worth investing in. In the end, athletes are performers, and the coaches are the directors that help keep the show running.
By: Teddy Burrows