The Struggle: Putting The ‘Student’ In ‘Student-Athlete’

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Throughout school, everyone classifies the Student-Athlete as the stereotypical jock. The workout clothes, the lack of intelligence, the special treatment from teachers and professors, and the athletic physique all play into how student-athletes are perceived. However, a deeper look into the life of a Student-Athlete will show you that it is no cakewalk.

All of the early morning workouts, the practices, the extra work, added on top of the class work and studying one has to do to stay on pace with class becomes more of a job, and less of a recreational activity.

“Some nights I don’t even have time to get a full night’s sleep,” says Zack Hopf, a Junior pitcher at Saint Peter’s University, “Between early morning lifting, and late nights of studying, I only get about four to five hours of sleep at night.”

On average, the college Student-athlete spends about 24 hours a week on his or her sport. The average student in college has about fifteen hours of class time, and the amount of time a college student spends studying and doing homework is about twenty hours a week. The sum of these average numbers for a college student-athlete totals to about 59 hours of work a week, leaving little time for relaxation and rest. The graphic here shows the comparison between Student-Athletes in season, unemployed college students, and employed college students.

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According to the NCAA, the Academic Progress rates of all sports have been increasing every academic year since 2003-04. The other interesting statistic provided by the NCAA is the increase in the Graduation Success Rate. 82% of Student-Athletes in 2004 graduated college, which was a 3% increase from 2003, and across the board, there was an increase in graduation rates in every sport from 1995 to 2004. This trend has been increasing every year, and more and more Student-Athletes are getting their degrees and becoming part of the work force every year.

“I don’t think people truly understand what it means to be a Student-Athlete,” says Adam Purcilly, a Redshirt Junior pitcher at Saint Peter’s University, “that ‘Student’ it really truly does come first… [Non Student-Athletes] don’t understand that a lot of us are some of the best students in the school.”

The amount of practice and preparation each student-athlete partakes in is grueling, tiresome, and arduous, but ask any student-athlete, and their answers are all the same: the grind is worth every minute, and they would not have it any other way.

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