Student-Athletes Deserving of SASS Services
With March Madness right around the corner, college basketball fans are gearing up for weekends chalked full of buzzer beaters, amazing shots and the excitement only a win or go home format can bring. However, what about the student-athletes competing in these events while also keeping up their class work? What demands are they facing from professors while fans cheer their every move?
When I first arrived on campus as your average college student, I was told, “If you go to class, it doesn’t really matter how you do on the assignments. You will learn and the professors will pass you.” This adage proved to be true for most courses—going to class facilitated learning and helped me make the grade.
Yet with the travel and training demands of many student-athletes, class cannot always be attended. While most of these absences are excused and known about well in advance, arrangements must be made for make-up work and equivalent assignments.
While I firmly believe in the mission of the student-athlete, this is one area where they are at a disadvantage to other students. For example, a team participating NCAA tournament this past year could miss at minimum 12 days of class if the team reaches the finals, all over the span of three weeks. That doesn’t even take into account the conference tournament (which for the Big East could be five days of missed class) and regular season travels.
So when I read articles like those written by the Associated Press that lament the amount of money invested in student-athlete academic services, I remember the extraordinary circumstances in which these students must learn. While some can adjust to the schedule of missing class, others struggle to make the adjustment to college-level work while adjusting to the lack of professorial instruction, especially when faculty office hours conflict with practice times.
These student-athletes are deserving of the money invested into them through the university and the exclusive student-athlete academic service buildings and staff. After all, they face a different set of circumstances than most other students.