Not many people know the onus of being a student athlete in college. This burden set on them has caused the graduation rate of scholarship players to average at about fifty percent from 1995 to 1998. In order to be eligible to play, the athletes must be full-time students , which means taking at least twelve units a semester. Because these athletes are taking so many classes, they must make time for a considerable amount of studying and homework. Then add up the amount of practice their sport requires and I doubt they will find a second to rest. Student athletes are the hardest working students in college.
Most student athletes have a demanding and rigorous schedule. This is partly because of the required twelve units minimum a semester to qualify as a full-time student. Without the full-time student status, they would be ineligible to play sports. That means at least three hours a day of courses on average. My schedule is similar to this, in that I am taking fourteen units this semester. It averages out to about three and a half hours of class a day. Scheduling the class times can also be a burden. It took my friend, Chris Carter, who plays baseball for Chapman University, two weeks to plan his class schedule around his job and his training. An athlete cannot have class on Fridays because some games occur on Fridays. Therefore, it makes it even harder to plan. My physical therapist, Jim Hairston, is a teacher at Chapman University and he said that many of his students who play sports have a harder time staying awake because of lack of sleep. These could all attribute to the recent fall in the graduation rate.
Another conundrum student athletes must face is finding time for studying and homework. With classes half the day and training the other half, that leaves the night for studying. Most athletes do not get started until about eight o’clock because of late practices.
Mr. Reames, a teacher at Foothill High School, said that we should expect to spend about four hours a night studying , and that does not include homework. Even if the athlete had only two hours of homework he would not get to bed until two o’clock in the morning. Many students have jobs to support them because they do not have full scholarships. Jobs take even more time away from study. Chris Carter is juggling baseball, school and a job. He says that he had to cram classes back to back in order to make time for work before doing homework and studying. Last April, the NCAA released information from a study completed in 1999, that stated the average student athlete gets between six and seven hours of sleep a night compared to the recommended nine hours of sleep a night. Those two hours could be the difference between attentively listening and absorbing the material presented in class or trying to stay awake and absorbing only half the material presented. Obviously, these time consuming activities take away from needed sleep and make the student work harder.
The sport probably takes the most time per day out of the three main time consuming activities. For baseball, an athlete must make a year long commitment to train and do whatever it takes to ready yourself for the season. This includes weight-lifting, which many colleges have early in the morning. Some start as early as six o’clock in the morning. One might say this gets your day started early, but it is only depriving the athletes of more sleep. Vince Brown of the Foothill Knights baseball program, starts his team weight lifting at six o’clock in the morning and says he likes to run his program similar to college programs. In addition to morning weight lifting, there are also afternoon practices that go from about three or four in the afternoon to six or seven at night.. This makes for quite a bit of training each day. The June issue of Baseball America stated that most college baseball programs average about five hours of training a day. If training hours (5), class hours (3.5) and study hours (6) are added up, that is around fourteen and a half hours of hard work a day, and that does not give time for eating and travel. Weekends could normally be another option for students to work, study or do homework, but student athletes have practices or games that take up most of the day every weekend. Cal State University of Long Beach’s baseball program has games or practice games every Saturday and Sunday throughout most of the school year. With weekends taken, mornings taken and the afternoons taken, that does not leave much time for anything else.
Monday through Thursday, student athletes have about fourteen and a half hours of hard work and Friday, Saturday and Sunday they have about twenty one hours combined. Added together, that is seventy nine hours of intense work a week. That is almost twice the amount of work in a nine to five job. Could you handle almost eighty hours of work a week?