This research paper primarily explores the question: How does the presence of big-time athletic programs compromise the intellectual integrity that is the basis of higher education?There is a current controversy surrounding the benefits that Div IA athletic departments bring to the university. In recent history there is evidence that suggests that the integrity of academics in higher education is dwindling on account of the presence of big time athletic programs. College is a place where students share a common goal of academic achievement, but the transition to the business of Division IA athletics shifts the focus of funding from education to athletics in order to ensure the success and prosperity of sports. As institutional funding is redirected to support the the athletics department, academics suffer; they become second class citizens to the sport culture. There is also the idea that big-time intercollegiate athletics contributes to the party-like atmosphere that exists on campus, further diminishing the focus on academics. With the threat of privatization breathing down the neck of institutions across the nation, there has been an increase in focus on money, which in turn, corresponds to the increase in a focus on sports as an alternate source of revenue; universities have lost sight of the mission of higher education. Although big-time athletics appears to be toxic to the intellectual community of higher education, its presence is a vital aspect of campus culture, and contributes greatly to the social environment. A balance must be met in order to ensure the academic mission of the university is not lost, and athletics is able to flourish without infringing upon education. It is possible that academics and athletics can coexist in the American institution of higher education.
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