do college athletes get free rideDo college athletes get an easy college education?

Whether you’re an athlete or a non-athlete, we’ve all seen it (or heard about it) before: The rumor that college athletes get an easier A than everyone else. With free tutoring, permission slips to miss tons of class, and make-up tests that might not be as difficult as the real test, many students believe that college athletes have it easy when it comes to college education. And we haven’t even mentioned all of the alleged “assistance” they receive during their college searches.
The flip-side of the argument, of course, is that college athletes work twice as hard as everyone else. They don’t have as much time to focus on class, their bodies are drained from training, and when they aren’t practicing, they are spending their time studying. And, lest we forget, college athletes are often the people responsible for bringing much-needed funding into the schools. Sports fans pay big bucks to watch their favorite athletes perform, and this is often the money that funnels back into everyone else’s classes in some way or another.
As an avid runner and college athlete, I found myself in quite a predicament when I became an adjunct professor at a reputable state university and my students began to request more and more assistance and time off for their sports endeavors. Was it difficult to help them catch up on missed work and tests? Yes. Did it take more of my time? Yes. Was it worth it to me? Absolutely. I feel that sports are an important part of college life, as well as “real” life. Sports help us gain valuable life skills like goal-setting, motivation, teamwork and dedication.
However, were my non-athlete students upset by the help I gave the athletes? I’m really not sure. Looking back, I realize non-athlete students had other equally important commitments: Families, work, etc. They didn’t get signed permission forms from school officials to miss class, so they did not have it as easy as the athletes did. If they missed class, they received a “0” from me. If they missed a test, they didn’t get to make it up. (Of course, I made exceptions for students with extenuating circumstances, but it still wasn’t as easy for them as it was for athletes.)
As a result of these realizations, I came up with a few tips for all of you non-athletes out there who have other important commitments that might cut into some of your classroom responsibilities.
  1. Before your semester starts, decide what commitments you have that are so absolutely important that you can’t miss them. Make sure they can’t be rescheduled.
  2. Set up an appointment to meet with your professor to discuss these commitments. Make sure to tell your professor why they are an important part of your life, why they can’t be rescheduled, and most importantly, how they will enhance your experience as a student (and prepare you for life after school).
  3. Ask your professor what you can do to make up missed work beforehand to show him/her that you are really serious about taking the class and doing the work. Be willing to go above and beyond what was originally required of you in order to satisfy your professor.
  4. Follow through with what you discussed with your professor. Failing to live up to your end of the bargain will not only result in a lower grade for you, but it will also make your professor less likely to make exceptions for anyone else in the future.
  5. Stay in constant communication with your professor. Remind him/her of your upcoming event and when you will miss class. And of course, remember to say “thank you” for any exceptions they make…your commitment means extra work for them!
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13 comments on “Easy ‘A’ for College Athletes?

  • Gee, I’m so surprised to see that a former jock is writing an article suggesting that jocks are terrific students. Are we not aware that school is supposed to be about EDUCATION, and no playing games? We’ve so immersed ourselves into sports in this country that we’ve completely lost the understanding that “sports” really means “play.”

    No other country in the world connects sports and education the way we do. Other people in the world recognize that the value of an education is more important than the status of being a sports figure (however fleeting it may be for most of them). The idea that a faculy member would do more work and spend more time on students just because they chose to be on sports teams really staggers me. They need to be held accountable to attendance, deadlines, and LEARNING just the same as any other student (e.g., the ones you WOULDN’T allow to miss class or deadlines).

  • I’m surprised to find a probably straight A student writing that college sports are bad. Athletes do get EDUCATION, and they have to work hard to keep participating on the team. We connect sports and education because we are America, and we can. Athletes bring up ratings for schools so other young adults want to come to that school. So get over it.

  • wow, maybe you should do some research before you start mouthing off against intercollegiate athletics. almost every academy or university outside of america has a soccer team associated with them. even the great university, oxford has a highly decorated rowing team. the modern form of athletics, or “play”, comes from an ancient drive for competitiveness. and as for the defenition of the word sport, straight from dictionary.com, sport – 1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. and as an athlete for the school that i attend, i helped my fellow athletes score a higher cumulative g.p.a. than the general student body.

  • i think college athletes should get paid. i love athletes and they work really hard. i admire their hard work and good grades. how can they keep up? beats me

  • I've seen the athletes work in the college I attended, and most of them just think of sports, rather than their education, it's sad.   I'd have to agree that more than 95% of them don't care about their coursework.

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  • i think athletes shud get paid too b/c im a athlete miself n it takes hard work to be a gud player n give the ppl wat they wanna see.

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  • i think we all work hard!! some harder thatn others, i play football and it is hard to find time to do all of your hw

  • why should they care ? their going pro and getting money for that. they just have to go to college first its not like they wana be there.

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