Student-Athletes: Balance is Key

Collegiate student-athletes face many pressures within their day-to-day lives. Student-Athletes are required to take at least 12 credit hours and the GPA of the team is of the highest importance as most schools give out athletic department awards based on the academic success of each individual team. Student-Athletes also spend a certain amount of hours in the library each week, fulfilling study table requirements and working hard towards goals that they set for themselves.

Here at Defiance College, most of our student population is comprised of student-athletes. At any given moment, a trip to the library during a school day would introduce you to a building full of student-athletes attempting to complete study table hours between classes. The NCAA Division 3 philosophy statement features language that student-athletes hear all the time, stating “Colleges and universities in Division III place the highest priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of all students’ academic programs”. The priority of a Division 3 institution is to place academics and overall experience of student-athletes at the most urgent level of the pyramid as Division 3 athletics are to be an “integral part of the student-athlete’s educational experience” the philosophy statement describes. Division 3 student-athletes do not earn athletic scholarships but can earn academic scholarships. Due to this, it makes sense that Division 3 student-athletes are subjected to hours of study tables and are held to higher academic standards.

The student-athletes here at Defiance are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities on-campus, working to build resumes and prepare for the ‘real world’ following graduation. You’ll see many student-athletes working as presidents or managers for clubs on-campus such as the president of the Student Academic Advisory Committee is senior baseball player, Mason Rapp and the president of Student Senate being senior softball player, Ely King. Student-athletes also fill several jobs on-campus such as many of the tutors are student-athletes and every member of the Resident Assistant staff play one sport or the other. Ely King, president and active member in many organizations plus a Resident Assistant, discusses one of the biggest benefits for being a Division 3 student-athlete, stating that “being D3 allows athletes to expand their skill set and gain experiences through athletics but also through other organizations that have allowed them to be well rounded individuals”.

Freshman softball player, Kalin Hubble commented that the hardest part of being a student-athlete is “learning the ability to balance and organize what I have to do throughout the week. I have to balance academics and self care all while planning around what the team has scheduled”.  Learning how to balance all sorts of team activities on top of the priorities that student-athletes owe to their academics and other activities is one of the hardest lessons for students to figure out. Overall, the experience is worth-while as Hubble stated that “the ability to play the sport I grew up loving while expanding new understanding to future career paths and to form a family with those you play with, creating bonds that could last a life time”.

Student-athletes face a whirlwind of different commitments every day. The Division 3 student-athletes of Defiance College excel in all aspects, on and off the field. By upholding the values of NCAA Division 3, students are able to further develop their education and to compete in athletic events that create experiences that allow them to grow into successful adults who can change the world.

Written by Jordan Osborne

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