I was recently contacted by DegreeJungle.com and asked if one of their writers could compose guest post on my blog. Always looking for more content, I jumped on the idea. They’ve contributed a piece on college athletes and the challenges and stereotypes they face. Of course, let’s be fair and note that these stereotypes don’t come from thin air. Jadeveon Clowney got a 500 on his SAT! My 15 pound dog got a 520! Clemson hero, C.J. Spiller, hilariously retweeted @ClemsonBuzzz when they joked about newly committed four-star defensive end, Ebenezer Ogundeko getting the official name of Clemson wrong.
That being said, these athletes mean so much to the university. Would Clemson be a top 25, soon to be top 20, nationally ranked public university without a football team? I’d venture to say there’s no shot. Passion-filled athletics serve as a source of pride, foster amazing community, and serve as one of the best forms of advertising a college can invest in. As
the University of Clemson’s Clemson University’s deadline for 2013 IPTAY donations nears, consider giving back to the Clemson family. Now, to the guest post on college athletes!
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Though the image of athletes as slack-jawed buffoons who cheat their way through school (See UNC) is as pervasive a stereotype as any other, the fact is that college athletes often perform as well as or better than their non-athletic peers in the classroom. In fact, many varsity-level collegiate athletes are on their school’s dean’s list.
One problem that non-athlete collegiate academics often have is that professors will sometimes lower work loads for student athletes. This isn’t because the athletes are mentally incompetent but because of the amount of time that they need to spend on their sport. Each week during the season, the athletes often spend nearly of 40 hours on practice alone. That’s just about a full-time job in and of itself. In addition, there are the multiple hour trips for the games and various other activities. It’s a miracle that they have any time for class, but the average student athlete reports spending 32 hours on class-related activities each week. Student athletes aren’t the only ones that professors will change their requirements for–students with children, students who work full-time, and students with mental health issues also often receive a reduced work load, yet nobody cries out that these students are receiving special treatment or that they are less qualified to be in the classroom.
In addition, student athletes are required to keep their grade point averages above a certain level, or else they can and will be suspended from the team until their grades show improvement. During the in-season, student athletes may receive a bit of a reprieve, but during the off-season, they are expected to do everything else that a non-athletic student does. There are no reprieves in the off-season, and athletes manage to keep their grades up even without what some may look at as special workloads. But, just because it is off-season does not mean that the student athletes get a break. They still need to do weight-training and keep in shape and form for their sport in addition to holding down a job and keeping up in school.
Student athletes provide a service to their schools by bringing attention and revenue to their universities, and they often go unpaid for all of their hard work. While many receive scholarships, many do not, and they do all of that work for no pay, no scholarship, and are still expected to juggle school, their sport, and some source of income, yet they are seen as entitled jocks who don’t deserve to be where they are. College athletes are some of the most revered and most vilified people you will find on any campus. It is a hard-line to stick to and so many of them do it fabulously and then are not even recognized for it. That is a shame.
It seems at Clemson does a better job than most of recognizing their athletes, as the annual outpouring of love coming in the form of IPTAY donations already eclipsed one-million dollars. If you’re a Clemson alumni or fan, consider showing our student athletes your appreciation with a donation to the IPTAY Scholarship Fund. For questions about IPTAY feel free to contact S. Runyon on Twitter.
Rose Yahnke is a freelance writer and senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a BA in Linguistics, and frequent contributor to college review and research site DegreeJungle.com, in addition to being a mother of one.
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