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Academic All-Americans: How is it possible?

How would you define a student athlete? Is it possible to merge these two terms together, student and athlete, while still having time to work and enjoy life as a young adult? Student athletes throughout the country are testing their own limits every day, by pushing themselves to meet their goals on and off the field. Student athletes are being encouraged by their college/university’s to properly gain the education they need for the future. At the same time, however, these athletes surrender the opportunities to grow as an academic within their major the way a non student-athlete can.

Students, who have the opportunity to play a sport in college, find that being a competitive athlete in high school, acted as a strong way in representing what life would be like as a competitive athlete in college. Waking up early and managing school work, while making sure they spend time with friends and family, is very familiar for student athletes, thus allowing them to transition into college life more easily than the average student. Along with previous experience of busy days and long nights, most student-athletes are mandated to meet academic requirements and are assigned academic advisors. These advisors make sure athletes are getting the necessary extra help they need to be successful in their courses, while guiding them through their academic issues. As a way to reinforce this good behavior, the NCAA also grants student’s, who show an outstanding academic record the “Academic All-American award”. The NCAA and colleges do everything they can to aid students in becoming the best all around individual they can however, unfortunately, there are flaws within the system.

Despite colleges/universities executing effective ways at ensuring their athletes are getting the support they need to be successful students inside the classroom, as with anything, there are some issues that arise when taking a deeper look internally. First, for basketball players, the NCAA has in place a 1 year rule that states that a player must wait to sign with an NBA team until they are 19 years or older. This allows for the production of “one and done” players that only play college basketball for one year before being eligible to declare for the draft. This seems to incentivize only playing for one year to produce revenue for a university, as one year of college will not teach a student anything of important significance. Furthermore, when athletes who graduate college without the fortunate fate of being drafted to play their sport professionally, are stuck not knowing which way to turn. Students typically are able to take their 4 years and focus on school as an undergrad, to help ensure themselves that they will be successful when they graduate. Student-athletes miss out on internships, working experience and networking within their desired field because of the time constrictions of being a student athlete. Not only are there regulations around how, where, and for who they can work, but they are also pressed for time, as their summers usually consists of constant training or even reporting back to campus months before class begins. So, is it possible after all to be a full time student, full time athlete?

When taking a deeper look into the education system for athletes, it is fair to assume that colleges attempt to properly train students with the education they need for the future. As stated above previously however, these athletes surrender the opportunities to grow as an academic within their major the way a non student-athlete can. When considering effective ways to fix this, practices can be incorporated into athletes daily training like that of biofeedback training. Biofeedback training would benefit tremendously with time management, calming techniques and focus skills to help athletes become better students and further allowing students to become better athletes.

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