Athletes balance class, sports

When dealing with the conflicting demands of class and playing sports, many student athletes make sacrifices to find a balance.

Aja Robinson, a 21-year-old softball player, said she is forced to give up a lot of rest.

“In class I do fine,” Robinson said. “Where I suffer the most is probably losing sleep.”

The junior economics student from Colorado Springs, Colo. said her coach didn’t understand the stress of her schedule until they discussed it.

“After we sat down and talked, she understood what I was going through,” Robinson said.

Chrisdon Hargrett, a 19-year-old sprinter for the men’s track team said it’s harder to catch up in the classroom than on the track.

“Sometimes you really have to buckle down so you don’t fall behind,” said the sophomore animal science student from Orlando.

But he said teachers are willing to accommodate the oftentimes-strenuous schedule.

“[Teachers] usually give me leeway,” Hargrett said. “And our coach will give us an excused absence or contact the teachers if we are going to miss class.”

Jonathan Kelly, a 19-year-old small forward and shooting guard for the men’s basketball team said communicating with his teachers is imperative.

The men’s basketball team has away games every other weekend so Kelly said he informs his teachers of his basketball schedule on the first day of classes.

“They work with me,” Kelly said. “They schedule my tests around my availability.”

Kelly, a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Tallahassee, said road trips can potentially hurt his grades.

“We leave on Friday and don’t return until Tuesday,” Kelly said. “I can makeup the homework, but I miss out on three days worth of notes.”

Robinson said during away games, the softball coach is strict about academics.

“Every night our coach makes sure that we are in our rooms studying.”

Rey Robinson, the men’s track team coach, said during the away meets, he brings laptops for students to use and there is a mandatory two-hour study block for students when they reach the hotel.

Coach Robinson said he makes sure the team is handling their schoolwork before anything else.

“If one of our team members is struggling in the classroom, we give them time off from practice,” he said. “Academics come first.”

The University has an athletic study hall on weekdays until 8 p.m. for student athletes and some coaches require their players to attend.

“We have assigned times for study hall,” Kelly said about the men’s basketball team. “It’s two hours, three days a week.”

Robinson said softball players are also supposed to go to study hall.

“It’s mandatory for some on the team,” Robinson said. “But between practice and work, I don’t have the time.”

Coach Robinson said finding balance is about discipline.

“It’s not difficult, but it is time-consuming,” he said.

Although athletics and academics may sometimes be deadlocked, Coach Robinson said time management is key.

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