Infographic: Debunking The “Dumb Jock” Stereotype

Participating in sports can seriously help a student’s academics

Yellow buses are returning to the streets. Target is aggressively hawking gel pens. Alice Cooper is crying. School is back—and with it, interscholastic sports. It’s an American tradition that dates back to the 1920s, when the “comprehensive high school” model became standard, championed by education reformers who argued high school sports instilled “ethical character” and fostered “useful school citizen[s].”

We still hear versions of this argument today, that extracurricular activities, especially sports, are essential to the educational experience. Organizations like the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations often go even further, claiming student-athletes experience more success than their non-athlete peers. Until recently however, there was only mild evidence to support the case, as most studies are extremely limited in scale by student privacy laws.

Eight years ago, Angela Lumpkin set out to find evidence. Lumpkin, who coached University of North Carolina’s women’s basketball in the 1970s, at the time was a professor at the University of Kansas, living in Lawrence. Through some bureaucratic schmoozing, she acquired high school data for the entire state of Kansas. In 2012, she published a study showing that, across gender, Kansas high school athletes attend class, earn GPAs of 3.5 or greater, and graduate at a higher rate than non-athletes. This marked the first statewide study of its kind. Last year, Lumpkin published a second study showing athletes also perform better on state assessment tests.

Kansas is smaller and more rural than most states, so Lumpkin’s data has its own limitations, but it’s still meaningful. Public school funding has plummeted since the recession, with interscholastic sports often in the crossfire. Research like this arms administrators, politicians, and organizers with tools for promoting the continued investment in sports programs. When Lumpkin first shared her results with the Kansas state official who helped her acquire the data, “He was turning cartwheels in Topeka,” she says. “He wanted to share it with executive directors throughout the nation.”


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

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One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

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via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

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