Student athletes adapt to learning on the road

NKU student athletes now face more academic challenges as they are on the road more and traveling farther distances since the school’s move to Division I.

Online classes can make it easier for athletes because they don’t have to attend classes in person.

“When it comes to schoolwork on the road, I don’t have a problem with it because I have mostly online classes,” said Jalen Billups, sophomore communication major and center on the men’s basketball team. “It is tough though at times, just because you’re not in class and you miss certain things that could potentially hurt you.”

The traveling is the biggest change for the athletic department according to Don Owen, the sports information director.

A change not only physically, but mentally, said Mohammad Salheih a forward men’s soccer player for NKU. Saliegh is from Springfield, Ohio and is a senior majoring in criminal justice with a minor in political science.

“People don’t understand that playing a collegiate sport at this level is a full-time job,” Salheih said. “Freshmen, incoming transfers and team members who do not reach a specific GPA are required to go to study tables. Our coach makes it to where we can’t just go back to sleep when we have downtime at the hotels. We have mandatory team study tables in the hotel lobby for a couple of hours.”

All athletic teams have to maintain an average GPA of 2.5, according to the requirements for the program. If student athletes do not maintain this standard, they are faced with consequences of study tables, benched games and, in some cases, suspension from the program. This is similar to the standards of the campus and academic probation. NKU’s volleyball team was awarded for having an outstanding GPA last season.

“It’s a balancing act that you have to get right in order to succeed as a student athlete,” said senior communication major Brendan Murphy. Murphy is a midfielder on the men’s soccer team from Tamworth, England.

“You are judged on your performance on the field and in the classroom, nothing else, so it’s important to get it right the first time around,” Murphy said.