Student Before Athlete

Athletics can interfere with students’ class schedule and study time

Athletes often miss class due to trips for their sport and that often leads to problems in the classroom.

Throughout any athletic season, teams travel to other schools to compete. Occasionally, these contests are outside of the state in which the team’s home games are played. The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) is comprised of teams across three states and many of the schools are separated by long distances, up to 692 miles apart: the distance between Michigan Technological University and Ashland University.

The effect on the amount of class time attended and a student’s grade in that class is usually a direct correlation. In most classes, professors tell students to spend two hours or so studying outside of class time for every one hour of class attended.

For many, the problem with missing class is that student athletes are forced to do extra work to make up for the missed classes.

Missing a class for an athletic event is excused through university policy, provided the student turns in a signed excused absence form beforehand. Men’s and women’s tennis coach Alex Palladino said athletes are treated the same as all other students.

“They are not allowed the luxury of a lighter work load than any other students in the same class,” said Palladino.

The amount of class time missed depends on the sport as well. The football team plays all its games on Saturdays, so those players miss only one or two days all season. The volleyball team will miss only one or two days as well this semester, but the women’s tennis and soccer teams will likely miss five or more days of classes.

Sophomore Brooke Rodes, captain of the women’s golf team, said the team will miss approximately eight days of classes this semester.

“We have study table while we are at school for two hours a week and that’s how we stay successful in our classes,” said Rodes.

It is the athlete’s responsibility to put in enough study time to make up for missed classes. On long trips, students have the opportunity to study during the ride to their contests. Senior volleyball player Katie Edwards said students often take advantage of lengthy trips.

“On long bus trips, we will have a study session which is normally two hours,” said Edwards.

Professors also factor into the equation as well. They have to either give different tests afterward or make the athletes take the exams before they leave. Palladino said it all depends on the preference of the professor.

“Some require them to take quizzes or exams early and others will allow them a later date,” said Palladino.

Edwards believes that facilitators have the students in their best interest and help them when they can.

“Professors at Ferris are very understanding and willing to help athletes keep up in their classes,” said Edwards.

While some athletes pursue careers in professional sports, the majority of them do not. Athletes, no matter how talented they are in a given sport, are students first.