Being an athlete comes with a very big price. Many people say collegiate student athletes have it just as hard as a normal college student. I have to disagree though. There are multiple examples that separate athletes from the regular or average student. Time constraints, stereotypes, class attendance, physical and emotional fatigue, and also the athletic sport the student is participating in, are just few of the many burdens athletes have on the shoulders that the common student does not.
Although regular students do not have it easy, I just believe student athletes have an incredible responsibility to keep their grades up and do well in whichever sport they are partaking in. Athletes also have an enormous amount of pressure on them, because they have to represent their school in a very good way. Time is indeed one of the major obstacles between student athletes and academic success. The major student athlete time demands include games, travelling, film and video sessions, weight training, and injury or recovery treatment.
Time affects everything from study time, to absolutely no free time. Being a football player, I can say from experience that time is your biggest enemy. It is always against you. Waking up for seven o’clock workouts, then going to having class immediately after, then going straight to practice after, then getting out late at night. There is very few hours left for study time. This process is an everyday cycle. Time has its biggest impact on studies and academics. For a student to learn, he or she must invest time and energy into the pursuit of learning.
This demands effort, time, and commitment to being a student. The problem with all this is that student athletes don’t have the time, as do the regular students. Having to maintain good enough grades to stay eligible on the team is already a hard enough task due to no free time. Wanting to exceed and get all A’s and B’s is where athletes tend to struggle though. Normal students don’t have to worry about time being against them. They have class and then able to focus on school work. Another issue with student athletes is stereotypes.
Stereotypes with athletes have to deal mostly with class professors. Unfortunately athletes carry around the label that they don’t care about school, and academics come after athletics. A lot of people put them in the category as arrogant and unfriendly. So not only do other students not want to be in class with them, but also none of the professors want the athletes in their class. Also, when athletes have to leave for games during the week these certain professors will count the student absent and give them zeros for whatever was due in class that day.
So, it becomes very tough for the student athlete when the teacher doesn’t want to help or pass him or her. The fact of the matter is athletes want to succeed in all areas of the classroom, and that academics come first before anything we do on the field. Fatigue is an unending feeling in an athlete’s career. It has an impact on both the physical and mental state of the athlete. The cumulative physical toll throughout the academic year can potentially wreak havoc on a student athlete’s ability to concentrate on studies.
Being sore, tired, and just plain worn out from either practice or games makes it hard for the student. It makes the student sloth and takes away any desire to do homework, for all he or she wants to do is rest and recuperate from the exhilarating exercise, training, and practice the athlete’s body takes on. Apart from the physical exhaustion, mental stress and weariness takes a huge toll on the athlete’s mind. Competition with other teammates or opposing teams leaves the mind tired all the time.
Worrying about a starting spot on the team or not making errors on plays only hurts the weary mind. This causes the athlete to dose off in class or failure to complete assignments and turn in on time. In season performance in the classroom is lower than out of season performance, because of all the stress on the athlete both physically and mentally. Research shows the athletes graduate at a higher percentage than non-athletes. Also, looking at students highly involved in college is very successful during their years of college education.
Therefore athletics can be tied in with this. Being very involved in and athletic sport helps the students learn better and teaches the student athlete how to organize and be responsible for one’s time and studies. I also believe that keeping the student busy with athletics can keep him or her out of trouble that the ordinary student can be faced with. Substance abuse is a huge deal with both athletes and non-athletes. Research shows though it is a much bigger deal with non-athletes though, and has a greater effect on the non-student athlete’s life.
In conclusion, I have to say that athletes take on a bigger challenge. I feel as if the athlete takes on the same as the regular student and the time consuming activity of their sport. Some will say the normal student will take harder classes or that he or she will be involved in extracurricular activities, but nothing is as time-consuming as a college sport. The time an athlete is given to get their academics done is in no range of what a non-athlete has to study and do school work.
I am not making excuses though for the athlete to slack off just because the academics will be much tougher due to their dedication to athletics. I feel as if student athletes should go out of their way to engage with their professors to show them they want to learn and will respect them as a teacher. Studies also show that student engagement is related to positive outcomes such as persistence, better grades and college satisfaction. This leads to the number one motto for a student athlete, “student first, athlete second”.