That major would surely require participation on an intercollegiate sports team, and like those who audition and are chosen for music performance majors, they would need to have the requisite skills and abilities to compete at the highest levels.
All current intercollegiate athletes already are required to participate in the general education curriculum and be on track to major.
If a student wants to receive a performance degree, they not only must perform at the highest skill level (and be recruited and selected based on auditions that demonstrate the talent and commitment required to succeed), but they must also take a range of academic courses related to their profession.
Music theory, composition, music history for the musician, for example.
The athletic department in collaboration with the university's academic affairs office and in compliance with accreditation expectations, would develop standards for performance instruction.
The university faculty, through its normal process, would determine the appropriate credit to be granted for particular instructional and performance activity.The first step is to recognize that sports as an extracurricular activity already exists in the university through elaborate systems of intramural and recreational sports, and as well through club sports that play competitions in nonprofessional contexts with other universities.But for those students seeking a career in sports performance, the requirements for a degree would need to be carefully structured and clearly specified.Many, but not all students in the sports performance major would receive scholarships based on their talent and performance ability, just as students in other performance related majors receive scholarships based on auditions and assessments of talent and promise.Within this context, the athletic director, coaches, and other personnel who teach the skills, strategy, and operations of athletic programs would carry faculty status, not necessarily tenure-track depending on the nature of their work.They have courses in sports history, sports law, sports finance.What they need is a structured curriculum for a student majoring in sports performance with a specialty in individual sports performance or a specialty in team sports performance.One only needs to observe the increasingly sophisticated methods and techniques required of baseball and football players, or the careful analysis that goes into learning golf techniques or tennis strategy, to understand that we should provide our students interested in sports performance with similar opportunities to those we provide students seeking a career as a violinist or operatic tenor.To be sure, academic programs in music, or theater, or dance with courses in theory and history, as well as performance, have been with us for a long time, and have well-established traditions and curriculums.This is a significant omission, for as we all know, sports is big business.It is one of America's major entertainment industries, and surely rivals orchestras, theaters, operas and movies as professional post-college employment venues.