What comes first, the student or the athlete? Without a doubt, being a student athlete is difficult. The lack of time athletes have outside of sports and classes makes it hard for them to study or have time for themselves. From the outside looking in, being able to go to school and play the sport that you love is a dream come true. But behind the scenes there is a lot of hard work and serious dedication that goes into being a successful student athlete.
Recently, Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman expressed that he struggled in college due to the time constraints of being a student athlete. In a press conference he said, “No, I don’t think college athletes are given enough time to really take advantage of the free education that they’re given, and it’s frustrating because a lot of people get upset with student-athletes and say they’re not focused on school and they’re not taking advantage of the opportunity they’re given.”
He went on to talk to about how compact athletes schedules are and explained how is bank account was in the negative more often than not while he played football at Stanford. This sparked the conversation of whether or not student have enough access to resources to be successful students.
A NCAA report proves that there is some truth to Sherman’s comments. It was reported in 2012 that the graduation rate amongst football players is 16% lower than the college average. For basketball players, the average is 25% lower.
Iowa State women’s basketball player Teetee Starks agreed that being an athlete is a big responsibility. Starks is going into her sophomore year and is on an athletic scholarship. She expressed that she struggles to find time to spend with friends and family and how much of a commitment being a student athlete can be. “You have to be ok with having a minimal social life because majority of your time goes to school and work.”
For some athletes, their education can be put on the backburner at times. Iowa State track athlete Tyrell Erb said that studying can be forgotten about at times. “After having classes and practicing all day, it’s hard to come home and want to study.”
He went on to say that he manages to get good grades, but he has it a lot tougher than most of the students on campus. He wishes he was able to do some of the things other students do like party or have a job.
As far as having a job, Starks believes that this is more about dedication rather than having enough time. “We are all allowed to have jobs if we do choose but also some people’s dedication level is different than others. Some would rather be working while others would rather be spending time in the gym or studying. At this point, I don’t need a job.”
For many, the line between student and athlete can be blurred. An athletic scholarship can be an amazing opportunity, but there is a lot more to being an athlete than what meets the eye.