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College Students: The Politics of Steroids

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College sports are very important everywhere, and even more so than academia or curriculum. This might not sound right, nor does it seem fair, but, hey, that’s the reality. The reasons for this are simple and obvious for some, not only to those involved in sports, but to those outside as well. The basic generic, yet no less evasive word for this would be “politics”.

When it comes to steroids, the controversies constantly abound: Doctors have confirmed that steroids threaten heath, and therefore the law has prohibited their use due to both the health factor and that of the player advantage (the “unfairness” factor, where the substance supposedly builds up bulk to counter the abilities of any opposing team members). Yes, despite the law, universities continue to use steroids, though discreetly so that their presence does not bring forth scorn or contempt. The substance’s effects are too attractive and too necessary to ignore or disregard.

Although many players do not use steroids, several others do, by their own volition as well as that of the department and/or their coaches. The pressure to win at all costs can be tremendous on the young player, especially when grades and scholarship stipulations are involved. Coaches do not want to lose players who aren’t always able to extend their time working out (most of the athletes do, though, if not by obligation than personal preference), studying, or meeting other academic commitments. Steroids has become the “magical little poppers” that allow players that added strength in short notice to allow them to perform impressively, regardless of the health risks. If they don’t, they might feel, or are led to believe, that they can loose everything—or that the school, indeed, can.

This leads into defining the politics of steroids. Sports represent and promote the university, and so quite a bit of the school budget is channeled into keeping the sports programs ongoing with the most updated equipment and facilities, even if it means letting other academic requirements slide. Since sports play an important role in college identity, they serve to continuously increase business (and, yes, educational institutions are a business) by drawing in new students, more talented athletes to keep up the school’s sports reputation and attract further business contacts and sponsorships who can and do contribute yet additional funding to university operations.

The politics of steroids, then, is based on money. This is no secret, of course. The word “politics” itself is indicative to the desire for money. This term also refers to favoring the particular interests of a few stockholders or outside but involved parties who continue to invest in the university through financial means (i.e. money). Either way, money is the objective

This might sound bureaucratically cold and heartless, since the university apparently puts profit above the well beings of the students—and it just might be the case, to some extent—but the primary concern of any institution, like every individual, is to survive. Yes, these institutions are self-serving, but that’s one of the main reasons for their existence. Without them, a whole mass of future students would lose out.

And this all comes down to the one little substance called steroids, at least as far as sports are concerned. Since sports are a major part of collegiate operations, steroids are a major issue involved as well—a link in chain! Remove that particular link, and the whole chain might crumble. This, at least, is what the bureaucracy thinks.

Is there an alternative to the use of steroids? They don’t seem to be going out of the picture anytime soon—There’s just too much money in them.


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