The Benefits of College Athletics

Most college students do not graduate with the intention of pursuing sports professionally; however, many participate in athletics while in school. Many universities offer different sports programs, and Regent is no exception. Regent offers nine different sports teams as well as intramural opportunities. Although sports require extra discipline and increase students’ workloads, college athletics offer a plethora of benefits that make joining a sport worthwhile. 

Although it seems to take away time from studies, college athletics actually has academic benefits. According to the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, consistent exercise benefits memory, concentration, problem-solving skills and a student’s mood. Regent’s student-athletes must also put in a certain amount of study hours per week and maintain good grades to be eligible to participate. This provides an extra incentive to do well in addition to the cognitive well-being that exercise increases. In an article published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation it discusses the impact of athletics on students, listing time management as another important skill that is learned in the process of juggling practice, games, team bonding, classes and homework.

Sports also create opportunities to grow relationship skills. The previously mentioned article also listed improved self-esteem as a byproduct of staying active. When students feel better about themselves, the overflow is more satisfaction in their relationships. Working in a team also requires students to hone their ability to communicate with each other. The forced proximity and long hours allow conflict resolution skills to be tested and refined. Especially when the team’s success is at stake, learning to cooperate is an essential skill for athletes to learn. 

In addition to the benefits of playing sports while you are in college, athletics also has long-term benefits. In 2020, Gallup conducted a study through NAACP on athletic and non-athletic alumni. The results show a direct correlation between five areas of well-being and college students who participate in athletics. The study showed that student-athletes are 5% more likely 

to work toward achievement and feel fulfilled in their lifestyle than non-athletic students. Their social relationships are 7% more likely to have social well-being, they are 6% more likely to find satisfaction in their community and 10% more likely to have sufficient energy and good health. The study also shows a slight correlation between being more effective in managing finances and participating in sports. 

College sports provide a great opportunity for personal growth, with benefits that last beyond the four years you spend in school. It may seem daunting to join an official Regent Royals team, but Regent offers many resources to assist students with time management and any academic struggles. There are also plenty of less demanding options, including intramural sports and off-campus options for anyone who wants to get involved. For more information, read our article on “Athletic Options for Regent Students.” Sports are not just for athletes; even if you do not play a sport, we can and should support our teams. Attending games to support the work student-athletes and coaches put in is a great way to show school spirit and get involved in the Regent community!