If you go to a school on an athletic scholarship, you need to be involved in your academic career, and ensure the classes you take count toward a degree you want to earn. Unscrupulous individuals can sometimes encourage student athletes toward classes and majors that keep them eligible and not necessarily toward the degree they are interested in.
Students can then be left to pay for additional schooling because they have a degree that prepares them for a job they’re not interested in, or because they have a degree without a job market.
I work with student athletes, and they often transfer to our school with courses that didn’t accomplish anything except keep them eligible. In some instances they were aware of it, but often they weren’t paying attention and have limited major options when they transfer. You should work toward fulfilling both your athletic AND academic goals, simultaneously. Particularly if you plan to transfer schools.
I met a student at a welcome event recently who reminded me how uninvolved some student athletes can be with their academic career. This student was attending the event (hosted by an academic department for their new students) with a friend, so they were not connected with that department. I asked what their major was and they had no answer. Then they said “I play (insert sport name here)” as though it was an explanation for being in college. I then simplified my question by saying “what college are you in?” I received a very puzzled look in response, and further simplified my question with “Who is your advisor?” To that I received “I don’t know” as a response, and “(insert first name here) enrolled me” – I know the person to whom they were referring. They are employed by the Department of Athletics, and they are not the student’s academic advisor.
The student I am referring to was probably very different from what you probably pictured from my description. They were not a high profile athlete in a high revenue sport with the possibility (however remote) of extremely high salary after completing eligibility. This was a new freshman in a sport where, even if they were to be one of the top performers in the country four years from now, they would still have difficulty earning a ton of money. I don’t mention it as a criticism of that person, of the Department of Athletics, or of athletes in general, but of the culture that allows athletes to be so removed from the real reason for going to school.
I don’t expect all student athletes to hold academics or their degree as their number one priority. I just expect it to be somewhere on their list of goals and to be something they spend some time and energy thinking about. It happens I didn’t push the student for a better answer or explain the error of their ways, so maybe I’m a part of the problem, and not the solution. But it bugged me just the same.
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