Celebrating athletes is no joke for the American population and you best believe the country’s investment is no joke either. College athletics is given millions away and according to The Knight Commission says Division I schools with football spent $91,936 per athlete in 2010 or Division I universities without football spent $39,201 per athlete, more than triple the average student spending.
As someone who was a college athlete out in the states for five months, there is an obvious difference between the countries attitudes towards sport. Almost all high schools and colleges are guaranteed to have a stadium and full-sized American football field, with some the highest gym equipment available.
I spoke to some Cornish natives who gave us their insights into what it’s like being an American college athlete:
“I moved to America when I was 18 to start university and to play football (soccer) on a scholarship. The four years I spent in the States have given me irreplaceable memories, irreplaceable friends, and irreplaceable life experiences, which have sculpted me into the person I am today.
The first two years of my degree, I spent in Northern California and played teams from all over California and would go away for a few days at a time, which gave us a chance to explore the beautiful state that it is…
My final two years I spent in Texas at a bigger university on another scholarship. I met friends for life, and again being able to travel the whole state because of games and time off….Being a student athlete was like being in an exclusive club, forming unbreakable bonds with other athletes from different sports, and giving you a respectable identity within the university.”
“I went to Nicholls State University, which is in Thibodaux, a small town in Louisiana. I didn’t know much about the place before I left, but I got offered a place on their tennis team and it had a good business school.
I would always suggest someone gets to know their coach before they go on a sports scholarship to the states. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it was the best 4 years of my life and I would recommend it to anyone.”
It seems that the American experience is a wild one, and more than worth the sacrifices made. Cornish athletes have only one option but to leave their comfortable bubble in order to progress as athletes, which raises the concern – why?
Cornwall unfortunately do not have the resources to cater for talented athletes in most sports, which is an issue that needs to be addressed. Hopefully one day Cornish folk will be able to have the same opportunity on their doorsteps.