Professional sports

Professional sports

Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are those in which athletes receive payment for their performance. While men have competed as professional athletes throughout much of modern history, only recently has it become common for women to have the opportunity to become professional athletes. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes. As a result, more sportspeople can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of sports. [Andy Miah " [ Sport & the Extreme Spectacle: Technological Dependence and Human Limits] " (PDF) Unpublished manuscript, 1998]

Most sports played professionally also have amateur players far outnumbering the professionals. Professional athleticism is seen by some as a contradiction of the central ethos of sport, competition performed for its own sake and pure enjoyment, rather than as a means of earning a living. Consequently, many organisations and commentators have resisted the growth of professional athleticism, saying that it has impeded the development of sport. For example, rugby union was for many years a part-time sport engaged in by amateurs, and English cricket has allegedly suffered in quality because of a "non-professional" approach. Fact|date=February 2007


The 19th century English class system and professional players

The English public school system (EPS) of the second half of the 19th century had a major influence on many sports. The schools contributed to the rules and influenced the governing bodies of those sports out of all proportion to their size. The public schools had a deep involvement in the development many team sports including all British codes of football as well as cricket and hockey. Moreover, the ethos of English public schools [see James A. Mangan, "Athleticism in the Victorian and Edwardian Public School. The emergence and consolidation of an educational ideology", Cambridge University Press, 1981, Revised Edition: Routledge 2000] greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin. [Steve Baily " [ A Noble Ally and Olympic Disciple: The Reverend Robert S. de Courcy Laffan, Coubertin's 'man' in England] " (PDF) Steve Bailey is Director of Sports, Winchester College, Winchester, England] The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited a representative of the Headmasters' Conference (HC, the association of headmasters of the English public schools) to attend their early meetings. The Headmasters' Conference chose the Reverend Robert Laffan, the headmaster of Cheltenham College, as their representative to the IOC meetings. He was made a Member of the IOC in 1897 and, following the first visit of the IOC to London in 1904, he was central to the founding of the British Olympic Association a year later. [Steve Baily " [ The Reverend Robert S. de Courcy Laffan: Baron Pierre de Coubertin and the Olympic Movement] "]

Until Recent times professional athletes in English sport, particularly cricket, were unthinkable and hence most players were amateurs.

The EPS subscribed to the Ancient Greek and Roman belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying: "mens sana in corpore sano" – a sound mind in a healthy body. In this ethos, taking part has more importance than winning, because society expected gentlemen to become all-rounders and not the best at everything. Class prejudice against "trade" reinforced this attitude. The house of a typical EPS boy would have a tradesman's entrance, because tradesmen did not rank as the social equals of gentlemen. [ Victorian and Edwardian Sporting Values] Produced in Poland by British Council © 2003.]

Within this class view it follows that if a person played a sport as a paid "professional", that would make the person a member of a trade. How could a club function when expectations demanded that some of the players enter through a side entrance? How would the social side of the club flourish if some of the members did not rank as gentlemen? How could a club of gentlemen which played a club of professionals possibly entertain their social inferiors?

Another prejudice which existed amongst late Victorian and Edwardian gentlemen held that the all-round abilities of British gentlemen allegedly meant that, if they put their minds to something, they would perform better than anyone else. This included the other British classes. The British attempts under Scott to reach the South Pole illustrate this prejudice. In the Scott expeditions, gentlemen refused to take the instructions of Canadian dog-handlers seriously, or to learn from Scandinavians how to use cross-country skis properly. To compensate for their failures to master dog and ski they persuaded themselves (and their contemporaries) that walking and to man-hauling sledges to the South Pole made the process more of an achievement. If professional teams were to beat gentlemen amateur teams consistently, that might burst the illusion of social superiority, and that could lead to social instability, something not in the perceived interests of the British upper classes of the time.

Olympic Games

Until the late 20th century the Olympic Games nominally only accepted amateur athletes. However, successful Olympians from Western countries often had endorsement contracts from sponsors. Complex rules involving the payment of the athlete's earnings into trust funds rather than directly to the athletes themselves, were developed in an attempt to work around this issue, but the intellectual evasion involved was considered embarrassing to the Olympic movement and the key Olympic sports by some. In the same era, the nations of the Communist bloc entered teams of Olympians who were all nominally students or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full time basis. In 1982 Adidas was paying British Olympic athletes to wear their gear. The first Olympics to officially accept professional athletes was 1988 in selected sports and 1992 in the remainder.Fact|date=February 2007

Lists of professional sports

Australian rules football

Unlike other sports, Australian Rules football has not resisted becoming a professional sport.

Although the sport began as amateur competition, the Australian Football League is an elite professional league and has been for nearly 80 years since its initial formation as the Victorian Football Association and then the Victorian Football League in 1897. The league changed its name to the Australian Football League (AFL) in 1990 amid the increasing professionalism and national expansion of the game. The increasing popularity and membership of clubs saw players being paid large sums until a salary cap and national draft system was put in place by the league during the 1980s to keep clubs competitive in a national competition. Some Australian state leagues, particularly South Australia (SANFL), Victoria (VFL) and Western Australia (WAFL) pay players professional wages. Leagues in other states are often only semi-professional.

Auto racing



Invented in the 1890s in Springfield, Massachusetts, the first professional basketball leagues emerged in the 1920s in the United States. Prominent among these were the American Basketball League, which formed in 1925, and the National Basketball League, which was launched in 1937 by General Electric, Firestone and Goodyear as a way to improve their national profile. [ "Steve Dimitry's Extinct Sports Leagues."] ] In 1946 the Basketball Association of America was founded by the owners of major sports arenas, particularly the Madison Square Garden. The BAA later merged with the NBL in 1949 to become the National Basketball Association, the preeminent league in the world with 29 teams in the United States and one in Canada.




Cricket at the highest level has developed into a fully professional international sport from which leading players can earn a large income. However professionalism has a long history in English cricket. The first professionals had appeared by the first half of the eighteenth century, when heavy gambling on the game encouraged wealthy patrons to draft the best players into their teams. They would often offer these players full-time employment as gardeners or gamekeepers on their estates. In the second half of the century, the famous Hambledon Club paid its players match fees. [1]

In the middle of the nineteenth century William Clarke's All-England Eleven was a highly successful all-professional venture which did much to popularise the game. The earliest overseas tours were also all-professional affairs.

In the early 21st century cricket is as lucrative as some other sports, and domestic cricketers typically earn several times the average salary in their country. Regular members of the English cricket team earn several hundred thousand pounds a year. However, the highest paid cricketers in the world are the star members of the Indian cricket team or the Australian cricket team who make most of their income from endorsement contracts. Cricket is the main sport in India, and the players are front rank celebrities, especially Sachin Tendulkar, who is one of the world's highest paid sportsmen.


Association football

American and Canadian Football

Rugby football in Canada had its origins in the early 1860s, and over time, a unique code of football known as Canadian football developed. Both the Canadian Football League (CFL), the sport's top professional league, and Football Canada, the governing body for amateur play, trace their roots to 1882 and the founding of the Canadian Rugby Football Union (later reorganized as the Canadian Rugby Union). In 1909, the Grey Cup was donated by the then Governor General of Canada Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, to recognize the top amateur rugby football team in Canada. From the 1930s to the 1950s, the two senior leagues of the CRU (the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and the Western Interprovincial Football Union) gradually evolved from amateur to professional leagues, and found they had less and less in common with the amateur leagues, and consequently in 1956 formed a new umbrella organization, the Canadian Football Council. In 1958, the CFC left the CRU altogether and was renamed the Canadian Football League. By this time, teams from the amateur Ontario Rugby Football Union had stopped challenging for the Grey Cup, and ever since, it has been exclusively awarded to CFL teams. Since 1965, university teams have competed for the Vanier Cup.Cite web|url=|title=Canadian Football Timelines (1860 – present)|accessdate=2006-12-23|publisher=Football Canada]


Ice hockey

It is played with two teams, while 5 skaters and 1 goalie are allowed on the ice at a time. In NHL rules, the periods are 20 minutes long.There are three periods.

The 64-member governing body is the International Ice Hockey Federation, (IIHF). Ice hockey has been played at the Winter Olympics since 1924, and was in the 1920 Summer Olympics. North America's National Hockey League is the strongest professional ice hockey league, drawing top ice hockey players from around the globe. The NHL rules are slightly different from those used in olympic hockey.

Ice hockey sticks are long L-shaped sticks made of wood, graphite, or composites with a blade at the bottom that can lie flat on the playing surface when the stick is held upright and can curve either way as to help a left- or right-handed player gain an advantage.

There are early representations and reports of hockey-type games being played on ice in the Netherlands, and reports from Canada from the beginning of the nineteenth century, but the modern game was initially organized by students at McGill University, Montreal in 1875 and, by two years later, codified the first set of ice hockey rules and organized the first teams.

Rugby league

Rugby league has been a professional sport since its beginnings in 1895 when 22 clubs based in Northern England [|split] from the Rugby Football Union. The RFU held to a code of amateurism but conflict arose over the controversy regarding "broken time" - the issue of whether players should receive compensation for injuries received whilst playing. On August 29, 1895 at a meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, the clubs decided to break away and form the Northern Rugby Union, which was to become the Rugby Football League.

Rugby union

Rugby union continued with its amateur ideals past the schism between union and league and throughout much of the 20th century. This position changed in 1995. The threat of big payments from professional rugby league clubs in countries where rugby league had a significant following was becoming too great. A committee conclusion decided that the only way to end this threat, the hypocrisy of Shamateurism and keep control of rugby union was to make the sport professional. On August 26, 1995 the International Rugby Board declared rugby union an "open" game and thus removed all restrictions on payments or benefits to those connected with the game.


Rodeo/Bull Riding

The PBR is different than the classic rodeo as it consists of only bull riding. It was founded in 1992 because a group of bull riders decided that their sport should be separated from the classic rodeo and could, as it was easily the most popular event. Riders and bulls are judged on a 50 point scale. Riders are only given a score if they stay on for the mandatory 8 seconds, while bull scores are given regardless of what the rider does.

Video games




ee also

* Salary cap
* Amateurism

External links

* [ PDF Reverend Robert S. de Courcy Laffan Coubertin's 'Man' in England ]

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