October 5, 2016

Are U of L athletes receiving special privileges?

By Evan Eley–

The University of Louisville’s new Thornton’s Academic Center of Excellence has been holding tabling events for employers to specifically recruit athletes. The events began in late August, and saw three employers arrive, ready to hire. Are athletes receiving valuable face-to-face time with employers that the average student does not have access to?

The $18.5 million academic center opened its doors to athletes this fall semester. It is complete with luxurious Adidas lounges, a private cafeteria and numerous study spaces. But the benefits don’t seem to stop there.

Athletes now have access to private professional recruitment events, which offers them powerful assistance in their search for internships and future careers. U of L’s Athletic Department has clearly strengthened its attractiveness to potential recruits for the university’s 23 sports programs.

For the average University of Louisville undergraduate student, these same opportunities are not offered. While there are numerous career fairs offered, employers are not at U of L students’ fingertips ready to hire. And these aren’t the same employers as the ones brought in by the Athletic Department.

The Fall Career Fair that was held on Sept. 20 gave several students the opportunity to meet and present their resumes to 31 employers, including UPS, the Northeast YMCA and Applebee’s. While students had to sort through each employer, the Athletic Department has been bringing in big-name hirers, such as Northwest Mutual, J and L Marketing and Enterprise.

“I think it is unfair. Athletes are able to come to the same career fairs as us, while also receiving private opportunities with employers,” U of L student Mackenzie Dease said.

The Cardinal’s interview requests to Athletics, by both phone and email, were never answered.

An interesting thing to consider with this topic is that a University of Louisville athlete is an extremely busy student. Their days consist of two practices, class, homework and, for some, part-time jobs.

“I don’t think it is fair to everyone else looking for a job or career, but at the same time, it is not fair to the athletes that a university can profit off of them, so it seems like decent compensation for that,” U of L student Elvir Malcinovic said. “You also have to understand that not every athlete has time in their busy schedule to make it to a career fair.”

But who is to say that some undergraduate students on campus aren’t just as busy?

It is important to note that these employers do recruit non-athletes for their internship programs. But you won’t be seeing them at this fall’s career fair.

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