Hitting the field, along with the books: Popular majors among football players

Jarett Theberge

College athletes often face a myriad of responsibilities, not the least of which are their academics. At Kent State, football players choose their majors in ways that mirror national trends, which university officials say is a testament to the attributes athletes gain through their sports. Does not make sense to me.

Football players most often major in communication, criminology and business, similar to statistics gathered by Bleacher Report about football players in the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC).

Data gathered by Bleacher Report showed 15 percent of Power 5 players claimed communication majors, 13 percent claimed business and 7 percent claimed criminology. The data reflects what was found as some of the most popular majors among football players at Kent State. Changing to percent is fine, as long as they are correct from the original source.

For the Flashes, 12 percent of players claimed communication, 9 percent claimed business and 9 percent claimed criminology as their major. According to what?

Angie Hull, the associate athletic director for academic services, gave insight on why these academic majors might be attractive to college football players.

“You take a look at all of our different teams and trends with different teams and, to me, it’s the upbringing and the type of student that typically goes towards that sport,” Hull said. “So, for football, we find that a lot of those guys are very outgoing people, working along with people.”

She said a major like communication would suit football players because they tend to be face-to-face and not the behind the desk type of person.

When asked what kind of opportunities (Not a fan of this. Can we change) football players who choose the three main majors which fall under the national trend would have post-graduation, Hull said companies are contacting her office for the recruitment of college athletes based of the attributes the players gain from being involved in sports.

“They are competitive people,” Hull said. “They know how to set a goal and go towards it — they are coachable.”

Companies reaching out to her are predominately looking for sales positions in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Hull said one of these companies, Stryker, makes medical knee replacements.

In the case of football players at the collegiate level, Hull said these players often choose criminology and justice studies as their majors more so than players in any other sport.

She said these players might have family history in the fields of criminal justice, and the physical stature of football players makes sense for those individuals who wish to be police officers. It’s as much nature as nurture for players choosing hands-on career paths. (Hull said?)

Eugene Canal, the director of athletics communications at Kent State, added more reasons (but he’s only adding one?) as to why football players would seek careers in fields of criminology and justice fields.

“The culture of criminal justice is very regimented and that does fit football culture,” Canal said.

 Jarett Theberge is an enterprise reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

Good story idea. I would like to hear more from different sources. To add, I would like to hear from actual players. Send a photographer with Jarett to get headshots at least. Or maybe one of them can get photo of them in a classroom. Next, I would add in a data viz for the Kent State football team’s different majors if he has the information. Maybe we could also work on the lede to make it more personal toward a specific player.