Sports Editor talks what it means to be a student athlete

By on October 16th, 2014
Graphic courtesy of Seth Foulks
Graphic courtesy of Seth Foulks

Participating in collegiate sports is time-consuming, hard work and rewarding.

As an athlete, you are pushed through many perils, accomplish personal feats, as well as team success, all the while representing your university.

You are required to maintain a certain GPA, keep up with your classes and balance the art of coexisting between the two worlds.

As the NCAA says, “Student-athletes must be students first.”  When putting the words student and athlete together, however, it must represent an equal union between the two.

Without cooperation from both professors and coaches, it is difficult to keep balance both worlds. Student athletes take pride in the name across their chest, reflecting the same insight and pride the institution projects on to them.

But what does it mean to be a student-athlete?  I have participated in NCAA DII athletics for the past three years, representing two different universities and participating in two different sports.

For each individual student, balancing academics and sports is most successful by effectively using time management.  Self-discipline is not the only necessity, however.

Often, practices may interfere with class times, which require cooperation from the coach to release the student for their studies.

On the other hand, many competitions and games fall on days of class meetings, which the student must miss, requiring cooperation from the professor to allow the student to make-up the class work at another time.

These conflicts often cause issues on the side of the student in a student-athlete equation.

The Signal article, “Trevor Clayton, denied release,” explains a misfortune that took place here at California State University, Stanislaus in regards to one of our athletes.

Clayton was denied his release to play at a Division I school, which would potentially launch his career in an entirely new direction.

In this instance, an issue involving members of the Athletics department caused a struggle for the athlete in the student-athlete equation.

Faculty, administration and the Athletics department need to recognize the struggle for balance student-athletes endure and play an equal role in their success.