The life of an athlete can be great. Lots of money, big houses, playing a game for a living, but before athletes can get to that level most of them have to spend time playing their way through college. Going on long road trips, having to make up tests and assignments because of games, spending practically every waking moment on campus.
A campus the size of NKU, is filled with hundreds of student athletes. Hundreds of students who come to college for the specific reason of competing and playing sports at a higher level.
For these student athletes, being on a collegiate team is their full-time job. Most of these students gain scholarship money in order to help pay their way through college, others who have walked on a team, rely heavily on other means of income to pay their way through college. Without this money from the university there would be no way all of these players could afford their education, while still playing a sport.
Regular students often find times to go on vacation or go away for a weekend during the school year. Student athletes have a chance to go out of town, however they don’t have time to enjoy their trips, when they go out of town they are their to compete and to represent NKU. According to junior Tommy Unkraut, a member of the baseball team, the time invested, is on e of the most difficult things to deal with.
“During the season it gets really tough,” said Unkraut, “It’s almost like you’re playing catch-up all year long with your schoolwork. It’s really like a full-time job.”
Senior, men’s basketball player, Sean Rowland, also finds the time commitment needed as the hardest part of playing sports in college.
“The time and the traveling definitely starts to get to you,” said Rowland. “There has been times, where we have returned from an eleven hour bus trip and went straight into the gym to practice.”
Besides getting their tuition payed, there are some other perks that student athletes receive because of their position on a school team. They get their trips payed for, get some free clothing, and get exclusive use of the athletic facilities around Regents Hall.
Being a student athlete really takes a lot of commitment. And these athletes must really love their sport to keep playing it throughout college.
“It’s rough,” said Unkraut, “but I’ve never even once thought about quitting.”
Most students are busy outside school with jobs or family, but most student athletes have these things to worry about plus their sports.
With all of the missed time in class, student athletes are usually given an agenda or schedule to follow. This tells them what needs to be done, and when. It allows the athletes to stay somewhat caught up in class on a day by day basis.
“The teachers pretty much understand,” said Rowland. “We don’t get treated any differently, except we get to miss classes due to games.”
This lifestyle really keeps the athletes busy, but in the end it pays off for all of them.
“I love just playing and competing,” said Rowland. “I probably wouldn’t be in school without it.”
Kyle Burch is the Sports Editor for The Northerner. Send email to email@example.com