The demands placed on a scholarship student-athlete
The life of a college student is a lot more challenging than most people think.
College students are without adult supervision and guidance for the first time in their lives. And they need to balance their schoolwork, club meetings, social life and in most cases a part-time job.
Now, imagine having all these responsibilities, as well as daily practice, film study, workouts and team meetings.
That’s the life of a college student-athlete — and it’s far from easy.
There is no off-season for student-athletes
School’s out for summer for everyone but student-athletes.
Instead of three months of freedom, scholarship football players are given only about 10 days off before “optional workouts” begin. These workouts are only optional by name and the majority of student-athletes on the roster participate.
After optional workouts, fall camp begins and football becomes a full-time job. For three weeks, student-athletes have to eat, breath and live football. Their day begins early and ends late after multiple practices, team meetings, film study and mandatory weight-room sessions. On the bright side, it’s easy to go to bed early after roughly 12 hours of non-stop football preparation.
Student-athletes must make sacrifices
Although NCAA bylaws dictate that student-athletes can only spend 20 hours per week on athletic activities, their coaches routinely find ways around this limit.
Optional workouts and film study, like summer workouts, are anything but optional. Scholarship student-athletes are forced to balance their athletic responsibilities with their studies.
As a result, most scholarship players have restrictions on which classes they can take to work around their practice and travel schedules. Student-athletes don’t exactly get to enjoy the weekend like their classmates, as they are usually traveling on road trips or competing at home.
With only so many hours in the week, many student-athletes do not have much of a social life outside of their teammates and miss out on a lot of the fun college has to offer.
The demands of college sports become life lessons
Due to their grueling schedule, student-athletes develop excellent time management skills and are probably the most efficient and productive people on campus.
These real life skills allow many student-athletes to excel in their professional lives years after their athletic careers are over. It took an injury and time away from football for SMU defensive back Ajee Montes to realize just how much he benefited from playing a sport in college. He told the SMU Daily Campus:
“I was seriously going crazy, I missed it so much. Being a student-athlete
has taught me time management, accountability, and how to be a leader.”
The pageantry, pomp and circumstance of game day convinces fans that student-athletes are the luckiest kids on campus. What these fans don’t get to see is the countless hours spent by them in the weight-room, classroom and on the practice field. In the end, most student-athletes, like Ajee, believe their efforts and dedication are ultimately worth the reward:
“Being an athlete is very tiring and a lot of hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s early mornings and late nights but the feeling I get when I run out of the tunnel and hear the fans going crazy, I know in my heart everything is worth it.”