There has been plenty of comment about how the decisions of the universities distorts the academic entry competition in favour of elite athletes. Those against bonus points claim that it is a perversion of the idea of fair competition that sports people cherish. They argue that sports people would be horrified if, in sporting competitions, athletes with higher IQs got favourable treatment.
Those who support the bonus point system claim that it actually levels the playing field. They claim that elite athletes are trying to compete with people who have more time to devote to study because they do not play sport to a high level. (In a recent post I showed a graph of how kids from managerial backgrounds dropped out of sport in the final year of the Leaving Certificate cycle.) Supporters of the bonus points would claim that 40 extra points would easily be achieved if the elite athletes swapped athletic activity for academic activity.
I do not wish to add to these arguments in this post. I will leave it to others to debate if elite sports people are receiving unfair treatment compared to other sports people or non sports people. I’m more interested in speculating about the different treatment of different sports. What sports will actually receive these bonus points? Will some sports get more than the "fair share" of bonus points? Will female athletes get as many bonus points as male athletes?
The Irish Times article claims that it is only athletes from sports recognised by the Irish Sports Council that are eligible for the bonus points. The Irish Sports Council provides funding under the National Governing Bodies scheme to a wide range of sports. The NGBs that have received funding include the Horseshoe Pitchers Association of Ireland, the Baton Twirling Sports Association of Ireland, the Angling Council, Speleological Union of Ireland, Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting, and the Irish Tug of War Association. I’m guessing that the competition between the Irish universities for the horseshoe pitching champion will be less than intense.