The Challenge of Being a Student-Athlete

The Challenge of Being a Student-Athlete
The Challenge of Being a Student-Athlete
Many college sports fans think student-athletes have it made: they get a free education in exchange for playing sports. If they’re any good, they earn Big Man (or Woman) on Campus status and even national fame for their accomplishments. Some are rewarded with multi-million dollar contracts before they even graduate. Despite the perceptions of critical observers of college athletics, the success of student-athletes is wrought with hard work and dedication.

It’s an investment in time, especially for participants in the most popular college sport – football. According to a 2006 NCAA study, college football players spend an average of 44.8 hours per week practicing and playing their sport. That’s a full-time job plus about five hours of overtime. The work isn’t easier for other student-athletes. Golfers spend 40.8 hours per week on the course and softball players hit the field 37.1 hours per week. Student-athletes aren’t normal students. They don’t get to experience the simple pleasures that most take for granted. Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks last just a few days combined, so little time is spent with their families. Spring Breaks are used for training and not trips to the coast, so few lasting memories are made with their friends.

Not only do student-athletes have responsibilities to their teams, but they must also spend countless hours at their student athletics centers. They must adhere to rules and regulations mandated by the NCAA regarding their GPAs and academic progress. If they underperform, they could face losing their scholarships. In order to remain in good standing, many report to academic centers at 6 or 7 a.m. to work with mentors and tutors, and return in the evening – often staying until 10 p.m. when the campus is deserted by normal students. The extra time is needed to compensate for the missed class and study time resulting from practice, training, travel and participation in athletic events. Maintaining a solid GPA is almost as difficult as placing in a gymnastics competition. If they want to be competitive students and pursue careers related to their majors after graduation, they must give equal attention to their studies. For most, careers in professional athletics aren’t an option. But after a difficult four years, the value of hard work they’ve gained as student-athletes usually helps them become successful individuals in the real world.
http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2010/01/

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