College athletes deserve praise
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It would be a mistake to place collegiate student-athletes in the same category as typical college students. A college athlete is not your typical college student; college athletes, no matter what division in which they compete (DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, etc.), are constantly involved in a massive balancing act.
According to Complete College America, a typical college student has, on average, 4-6 classes that total roughly to a 12 to 18-hour class load. Obviously along with that class load there will be studying, homework and other assignments that need to be completed outside of class. Although many students also have jobs and other extracurricular activities in which they are involved, it is no comparison to the schedule of a collegiate student-athlete.
Having played football here at Western Illinois University, I can personally say that being a college athlete is much more that just being good at a sport. College athletes are masters of time management and experts in balancing.
The schedule of a college athlete is no joke. Take for instance a football player here at Western. On a weekday, during the football season, the average player will have their normal class load for the day, lifting and conditioning — and other rigorous physical training — position meetings, special team’s meetings, practice and even rehab for injured or strained athletes. By the time practice is over, it is already roughly 7 o’clock in the evening, and there is still studying and other work that needs to be done. A typical week for a college athlete can total to approximately 60 hours of work, physical or otherwise.
Many have argued that an individual who has a full course load, who is involved in several different organizations, or clubs, on campus and has a part-time or full-time job is just as busy, if not busier, than a college athlete. Relative to the hours you are dedicating this may be true; however, it is not just the hours spent during the week that makes college athletes’ jobs harder. College athletes endure not only strenuous schedules, but also an intense physical strain on their bodies. Through hours of practice, lifting and conditioning, student athletes are pushed mentally and physically so that they can operate at peak performance when competing on the field or in the classroom.
Somebody once said to me, “It must be nice to be an athlete; you get to miss so much class and be excused for missing.” It is true that college athletes miss class due to away games, but it is nothing to be jealous of. When a team has to travel to one or more away games, the players have to be on top of their academics while on the road. Some teams, such as basketball, have to miss up to an entire week of class, which means that it is entirely on them to learn the material or even reschedule exams that they may have missed.
When it comes to the schedule of a college athlete, it does not end when the school year is over; college athletics is a year-round event for athletes. For many athletes, the summer is just another season that is filled with practice, meetings, lifting/conditioning and very often more classes.
Being a college athlete is a never-ending game of time management, balance, physical and mental endurance and motivation. Simply put, collegiate student-athletes are not your average students. For more information contact Josh DefibaughJG-defibaugh