by LIZZIE DEAL
Student athletes who upheld a 3.0 GPA and above during the Fall semester were honored at the Men’s Basketball game on Feb. 5 to celebrate their achievements both academically and athletically.
270 student athletes were honored at the game, according to Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Success Services, Dalton Moberly.
“I think being recognized was really nice because a lot of people don’t really understand what it takes to be a student athlete. It takes a lot of time management and commitment on both ends. We definitely spend a lot of time practicing and working and honing our skills in the sport, so being able to have that 3.0 GPA still on top of all the requirements that the sport places on us is hard, but being rewarded for that is really nice,” tennis player Kendall Hunt said.
One of the largest struggles college athletes face is juggling their different commitments not only to their sport, but also to being full-time students.
“The biggest difficulty is time management because we are required to be at practices, lifting and games, and also stay on top of our classes,” cheerleader Kayla Hartman said.
One way that student athletes manage their homework load and time spent at practices is by attending mandatory study hall hours. Most are assigned four to six hours to attend a week.
“Although a lot of people may complain about it, it really forces us to take time to study. A lot of the coaches really appreciate that giving us a set time to dedicate to our studies outside of practice,” Hunt said.
Along with being full-time students, student athletes have to attend practices and weight training.
“As cheerleaders, our week to week schedule varies quite a bit, but in an average week we practice twice and have anywhere from one to five games to cheer at,” Hartman said.
Aside from being honored for their GPAs, student athletes also keep their grades up due to the Bulldog Cup, an annual competition between the different athletic teams.
“We compete in areas such as going to other sporting events, how we do in the season, and also academics. One of the incentives we have is the higher the cumulative GPA of your team is, the more points you get towards Bulldog Cup. At the end, the top three teams get a little over a thousand dollars donated to their athletic program, which can be huge for travel fares and just team fares in general. The Bulldog Cup winners also get recognition from the whole athletic staff,” Hunt said.
One of the largest motivators for student athletes, however, are themselves and their drive to maintain a balance between their course load and athletics.
“Being a high achieving student-athlete requires a strong work ethic, dedication and excellent time management skills,” Moberly said. “We believe student-athletes need to find and build a strong foundation [and] balance in their life to help be successful in the classroom, during competition, on campus and in the community. Athletes are generally driven by specific goals and GPA benchmarks are another measurable goal to help push them to overall success.”