UP photo by Brendan Satran

UP photo by Brendan Satran

Outspoken NFL cornerback and Stanford grad Richard Sherman once said, “I would love for a regular student to have a student-athlete’s schedule during the season for just one quarter, or one semester, and show me how you balance that.”

The life of a collegiate athlete is not as privileged as one might think. It is a constant balancing act of classes, practices and games. For many athletes making the adjustment is not always easy.

“The fall semester was a shock to me,” Cole Girouard, freshman baseball player, said. “Transitioning from high school to college really forced me to learn to manage my time.”

Many athletes can only schedule classes before noon or after 6 p.m. due to practice. Compound this with mandatory study hall hours and many athletes have little to no free time outside of school and athletics.

“I’d say we have missed around 20 days of class this semester,” Maddy Myers, sophomore softball player, said, “To make sure I get my homework done, I typically do it all at the beginning of the week, and I stay after class to finish it so I don’t have to stress about it during the weekend or panic about a weekend due date.”

Many student-athletes have to miss classes due to travel. During these times, student-athletes often have to do their assignments while on charter buses, in hotel rooms or business centers.

“Usually on the trip back from wherever we are playing, you’ll see 10 to 15 laptops lighting up people’s faces on the bus,” Brett Brown, senior baseball player, said. “Imagine taking a quiz in your car while a movie is playing and guys are being loud, it’s tough.”

While on the road, athletes stay in hotels and generally only have free time after the games. Athletes can be found in the hotel lobby and business center doing work in order to get some quiet time away from the team.

“My first year here it was hard to do homework while on the road,” Reid Russell, senior baseball captain, said. “Imagine being in a hotel with 30 of your good friends and trying to get work done — it’s not as easy as it seems.”

Although some student athletes have trouble doing work on the road, a majority have adjusted to doing work while traveling.

“It all boils down to time management, if you can manage your time and set aside an hour or two, it’s really not that bad,” Stefan Panayiotou, baseball redshirt junior said. “You just have to get it done during down time when everyone isn’t really doing anything.”

Student-Athletes are expected to put their studies before athletics and regularly attend meetings with academic advisors to make sure they are keeping up with their work.

Freshman are expected to complete up to eight hours of study hall each week, sophomores must complete six and juniors four. Seniors are exempt from study hall if they have a GPA higher than 3.0.

Baseball and softball season lasts from February until late May, and the teams will leave for weekend road trips on Thursday and not return until Sunday night. Compound this with midweek away games and a student athlete could potentially be in class one day in an entire week.

“When I’m on the road, I tend to set reminders on my phone so that I don’t forget about assignments,” Beth Castillo, freshman softball player, said, “It’s a lot to make sure I have all of my uniforms and equipment packed and ready for games, so making sure I don’t forget about my homework is crucial”

Student athletes are expected to stay on top of their classes regardless of the classes they miss. This means they frequently must teach themselves in order to keep up with schoolwork.

“Missing a lot of class can be a nice thing sometimes,” Panayiotou said. “But when it comes to teaching myself the material, and making up assignments and notes, it’s not really worth it.”

Collegiate athletics gives many young athletes the opportunity to play the sport they love while getting school paid for. Many learn quickly how important time management is when they have to balance a full academic schedule as well as six- to eight-hours of athletics each day.

Brendan Satran

UP contributor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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