March 18, 2011
Posted by Jay Livingston

Philip Cohen says (though not in his Family Inequality blog) that of the players in the NCAA tournament, sociology majors have the highest average (game points, not grade point). He links to an article by Justin Peters in Slate about “student athletes.”

Sociology is nowhere near the most popular major on the floor. Business, Communications, Humanities, and Sports Science beat us out. Nevertheless, Peters delivers this bit of trash talk
Forty-two players study sociology, that tried-and-true slackers' major. While it’s possible that UCLA players are disproportionately drawn to the sociology department for the chance to study with famed Marxist theorist Perry Anderson, it's more likely that a shooting guard would choose it because, as one of the largest majors at UCLA, nobody will notice if you don't come to class.
Hey, ref, how ’bout a T for that?

Athletes do tend to cluster in certain majors. Which major it is depends on the school and the team. For UCLA hoops, it may be sociology, for Georgia Tech football, it’s business. But the reasons for these learning communities are not the ones Perry mentions. More likely, coaches direct their players to jock-friendly majors. Different coaches have different ideas about what a good major is (and perhaps different friends on the faculty).

(I blogged this a couple of years ago – here ,with a link to an interactive graphic which I think is still working.)

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