For collegiate athletes, playing a sport began as fun and turned into a passion. If you are one of the lucky few who can take their passion to the next level, it will be a challenge to strike a balance between athletics and academics, but a worthwhile one.
Most athletic departments have guidelines about how athletes must notify professors about athletic schedules and missed classes. It is best to give your professor your athletic schedule and the days you may miss at the beginning of the semester. Many professors are flexible, but do not take advantage of their understanding. Make sure you turn in assignments in on time. You may want to find a “buddy” in class so that you can get notes from classes you miss.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sets regulations aimed at keeping athletes eligible. However, in the end, it is the student’s responsibility to remain in good standing on and off the field. The NCAA has a GPA minimum of 2.1 for eligibility, but some schools or coaches may set a higher GPA minimum. Make sure you are aware of your school or sport’s policy.
Most athletes have a full schedule, so time management is important. Joe Vidmar, a 2004 graduate of the University of Richmond and scholar-athlete during his four years, says that although time is limited, it’s important to find some downtime between practice and homework so that you refuel before beginning schoolwork. He suggests scheduling even just a few minutes to unwind so that you are ready to put all your attention toward schoolwork.
Overall, most student athletes find balancing athletics and academics to be a rewarding experience. Tim Bezbatchenko, a recent graduate of the University of Richmond and NCAA Academic All-American, says “what I learned on the field translated directly to the classroom. I was constantly making connections between the team work, motivation, and dedication I needed for soccer to my work and experiences in the classroom.”