How to make sure you don’t find yourself uttering the phrase, “I am on the field, but I am supposed to be in the classroom right now.”
Is it possible to be both a student and an athlete? Or will you end up feeling like you are in a vice, being squeezed by both your coaches and your professors?
Can You Play College Athletics And Succeed Academically?
NCAA rules prevent you from missing class for practice, but how does this play out in real life? Will you be able to get the classes you need and still be able to be at practice every day?
At every school there will be a natural tension between the expectations of your professors and your coach. Each believes what they are doing is the most important place you should be. Most professors work with you and your athletic schedule. There are a few sticklers at every institution.
College athletes across the spectrum of schools and divisions, not only survive, but thrive academically and athletically. Colleges are the ones who are creating the student-athlete role. They don’t have to, they choose to. Colleges take great responsibility to make sure their students have the opportunity and ability to be successful in both areas.
Coaches and upper classmen can help you work through most of these situations. Coaches are interested in seeing you do well in the classroom. Coaches care for their players and want the best for them. Every college coach I have interacted with sincerely understands sport will be only four years for almost all of their athletes, but the academics are preparing them for their career.
Are There Some Majors That Won’t Allow You To Play Sport?
There are some majors at each school though, that overlap so much that it makes it difficult to be in part of that major and athletics. Don’t be shy, ask the coach during the recruiting process. “Are there any majors that don’t work well with your sport?”
At the last school I was at, for instance, there were a couple majors that didn’t fit with athletics and I was upfront with players interested in those majors. Music and choir majors could not do both because the classes and performances overlapped with practices and games considerably.
I had many education majors come through my program, but it was a challenge for them their junior and, especially, their senior year as they spent more time student teaching. Upper level education classes were taught in the late afternoons when we practiced. I loved having science majors on my teams, but sometimes their labs would run late and they would miss portions of practice.
You may not think this is important now, but trust me, it will be. Make sure you ask the coach if your major will work with playing on the team. Usually the conflicts won’t come until the junior or senior year, so you should be aware early of what those potential problems may be. You may not be able to miss class for practice, but a coach has no obligation to play you if you are not at practices preparing with your teammates for games.
The Routine of a Student-Athlete
The routine for a college student-athlete is very structured. Expect to wake up early, work out, spend your day in classes, go to practices, spend your evenings studying and then to bed. Your life will be far different from those students who do not play. You will have little free time. Generally, academics and athletics work together well, just make sure you have asked the appropriate questions up front so there are no surprises.
Next, take a look at 5 Benefits of College Athletics.