July 7, 2014
College Athletes and Academic Performance vs. Non-athletes Academic Performance
Announcer: Up next, on beam! The crowd cheers loudly and watches intensely as the star gymnast from the top Ivy League school makes her entrance. She looks around and takes in every moment she has earned. This is it, her spotlight moment to shine and show-off what she has spent endless hours training for. The countless hours spent in the gym with teammates, early weight training sessions, and insane diets; it feels almost as if she were training for the 2016 Rio Olympics full-time. Entering college with an athletic scholarship may seem glorious and like you are living the dream but the sacrifices may not be worth it in the long run. As a college freshman, the responsibilities required of you are far beyond more than one would expect. When the high-demand of athletics is thrown at you, other responsibilities, such as academics, are pushed to the bottom. Academics are often times seen as less of a priority than athletics, as many college athletes perceive them, putting non-athlete students at the top of the deans list. Numerous studies have questioned whether or not athletes have enough time to be a student or if the high levels of stress are contributing to the poor academic success rates and how strategies can be implemented to shorten the graduation gap between student athletes and non-athletes. Strategic plans can be implemented to help with academic performance, athletic motivation, and obtainable graduation dates due to the increased amount of academic failure in student athletes among various universities. Teenagers, athletes, nerds, jocks, band geeks, etc., all typical stereotypes in today’s society that define who we are as people. Although athletes (especially collegiate athletes) are just as human as the rest of society, a bigger stereotype is placed on them when it comes to academic performance. When the term “collegiate athlete” pops up in society, often times the response is dual-sided depending on the audience. In the sport’s world, college athletes bring triumph, victory, game day entertainment, hard work, and dedication. When discussing collegiate athletes in the academic world, the response is not so much the same. Educators often times see the negative side of being both an athlete and a student. Educators are still stuck on the large stereotype, the “dumb jock” stereotype, which is placed on student-athletes who spend more time at practice than in the classroom. In an article by Lynn O’Shaughnessy, “Do College Athletes Have Time to be Students?”, the amount of time spent in the classroom versus time spent in the practice room is laid out to show where most of college athletes interests are. Division one and two baseball players (the most demanding of college sports) devote roughly 42.1 plus hours per week to the sport during the season which is roughly 10.4 hours more than they spend on academics.
Division One Men
Sport Athletic Hours
Figure 1.1 illustrates the number of hours spent on athletics each week by Division one men athletes in college. (O’Shaughnessy)
As Figure 1.1 illustrates, college athletes are focusing way too much attention towards their sport and not enough towards their education. For the majority of students enrolled in a university, they are there to receive a higher education and to improve their quality of life, but as for some student-athletes, the goals are not similar. Some student-athletes are at college just for more game time. This concentration of focus needs to be reversed and it can be done with the help of a few simple strategic moves. In a recent study, it was concluded that 29% of male basketball players, in Division one athletics, wished they could spend less time on the court where as the vast majority of male baseball players did not appear