Collegiate Sports In China. A Slam Dunk or Home Run for Someone

Friday, September 4, 2009 10:01
Posted in category Uncategorized

Growing up in St. Louis Missouri, playing sports was just part of life, and for many of my friends.. that included paying their way through school by leveraging their athletic talent. In China though, that option does not exist for more than a few hand picked athletes who are identified when they are young. Very young.

Where I see this as an opportunity, is that while attending the LeBron James event last week, it became clear that through the development of a collegiate league, China would be able to accomplish more than drive interest in sports, and the purchase of more jerseys.

1) It would improve the quality of sports in China by taking it from a system that relies on systematic learning and performance – LeBron absolutely showed this through his 3 minutes on the court.

2) It would open universities up to new sources of revenues, which would reduce the State’s financial burden, increase the opportunities for all scholarships, create new avenues for corporations to engage schools, and most of all… create more campus pride.

Issues I spoke about with some of the Nike folks I was sitting with.

More importantly though, through a collegiate sports program, large numbers of students would be given the opportunity to attend university.  Students that otherwise do not have the financial resources to, and in doing so, break the economic cycle that many of their parents find themselves in.  this was a point that became clear when LEbron’s movie trailer was shown and he spoke of how he was able to break the economic cycle he was in through basketball. A message he is now promoting through this More Thank a Game campaign.

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2 Responses to “Collegiate Sports In China. A Slam Dunk or Home Run for Someone”

  1. David says:

    September 4th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve had this conversation many times and had basically the same response each time–Chinese students do not multi-task while in school. While they certainly do play inter-mural games on campus, the concept of working or playing your way through school is seen, especially by parents, as more of a distraction then a help.

    I think that it’s a great idea, but it’s still a ways off. The finances alone (for the universities to support inter-school games, travel, etc) are something that most Chinese universities are probably not ready to spend.

    We have a number of employees in our China office that go to night school after work. But even they say that they needed the time as undergrads in China to focus on their studies and not a one thinks that their parents would have supported the idea.

    Those lucky enough to get into college in China aren’t going to do anything to “waste” the opportunity and their families won’t let them either.

    The college sports program gets so many more people into college in the US than would have otherwise would have gone–but it’s also self supportive because of the money generated by (mostly men’s) basketball and football. I think that the same could eventually be true here too–but here are some social barriers that need to be overcome first.

  2. admin says:

    September 4th, 2009 at 10:52 pm


    Yeah, I have had that same conversation, and the same “waste of time” reasoning is used. Last night, of the 10 people sitting around my dining table – only 2 thought it was really a good idea.

    But, contrast that with the fact that roughly 40% of students fail to do well enough to attend school, 4 million students, and I think there is a clear opportunity to change minds on this one.

    Would take a few progressive universities, and a couple of wealthy Chinese, to start the first league.. but once started, and proven, to increase university revenues and opportunities for students (who otherwise would not have gone to school), I predict we would see the next wave of State funded infrastructure investments.

    Which, would satisfy another government objective. Employ millions