Beyond Winning in College Sports

Lax

College sports are becoming very controversial. With millions flowing through the system and corruption allegations flying, many argue that college athletics need major reform. In the latest issue of the Atlantic, for instance, Taylor Branch argues that colleges should just start paying college athletes money directly for playing sports.

Another option might be to stop caring. That’s the option one Massachusetts college is trying. According to an article by James Burnett in the Boston Globe, Wheelock College works on skill and character development and not on “am I winning or losing this game,” according to Wheelock Athletic Director Diana Cutaia:

The philosophy has, ironically, proved successful in another way: With it, the school has started winning games.

… Cutaia brought the philosophy to campus six years ago, and since then the athletic department’s collective record has gone from 45 athletes with three wins the prior season to 122 athletes and 40 wins last year.

As she points out, the vast majority of college athletes never play professionally. And don’t we have sports to build character?

It’s an odd philosophy, and one that surprised coaches and athletes, but it seems to be effective. Students say it works and Wheelock is winning more games. You can’t argue with success.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer