I have recently read a article about Major League Soccer (MLS), a professional soccer league in the United States. The interviewee in the article compares the soccer league management in the U.S. and Japan.
The author of the article basically states that soccer in the states has been thriving and overtaking that in Japan.
According to the article, the average number of MLS's fan walking into the stadium has been outnumbering that J league - Japan's professional soccer league-, by 19,000 vs. 17,000.
Taking a piece of the improvement, I have felt exactly the same way regarding Portland Timbers, a Portland-based professional soccer team in Portland OR, has joined the league when I lived in the city.
Although the city is still filled with more the fan of Blazers, a basketball squad in National Basketball Association (NBA) than Timbers, the football team has enjoyed with more people coming to stadium.
Yet, what caught my attention is not how American soccer has started thriving, but what is discussed after that: the relationship between academics and sports in universities in America.
In my country Japan, there is a quote - "Be good both at academics and sports"-, which is prevalent motto that is often aimed in the world of education in the nation.
However, it contradicts often the time. Many high school athletes (sometimes middle school students as well ) who are more talented are not required academic performance as they are trying to enter a university.
Because they are athletically skilled and would be good advertisements in order to enhance the recognition of the schools, the instituions often do not impose entering exams, but provide merely simple interviews, which I think even elementary school students can pass.
After they have started campus life, situation is much worse. They are not required to keep their academic performance at a certain level; in the United States, on the other hands, you have to keep your GPA high enough at or above the level set by the school. Otherwise, you will be restricted from playing.
I'm not sure if it is true that in the states, companies sees a job candidate as qualified or at least smart person if they heard he or she played any sports in a school club, which is written in the article.
However, it is good perception about college students and would be inspiring for them to be an athlete as seeking a job.
I'm not saying all college athletes and schools are ignoring the importance of being a scholar-athlete, but there is still less focus on it in my country.
College sports is crucial for the improvement of sports market, but focusing only on sports performance will deteriorate the value of person because not all of the college athletes will be able to take their own path on to the professional players. Many of them will have to chose ways other than being players.
Additionally, even if the dream comes true to be a professional player, what would they be doing after the retirement? Coach?Sports reporter?, which is no bad, but, if they are also academically hard working, they would be more talented and there would be more possibility for them careers after their retirement.
Thus, collaborative work between academics and sports in schools will lead great impact on sports market.
I have seen the many things that Japan should learn from the U.S. in terms of sports market.
Make the world a better place through the sports.