Editor's Note: Academic success and preparing Student-Athletes with useful life skills that help them in their post-athletic careers is a core value of AthletesLTD which is why we are highlighting the programs that athletic departments provide for their student-athletes. Read below about how ALTD is going to make that happen.
A student-athlete (SA) is a person who competes in a sport for her school while concurrently earning her degree. SA’s dedicate numerous hours daily to be the best at their sport. These hours include time spent: strength training, speed training, film study, injury rehabilitation, and then actual practice. For their hard work on the field and court, SA’s can earn athletic scholarships that cover books, housing costs, tuition, and can even include a living stipend. These are some of the benefits of being a SA but the biggest reward a school and athletic department can provide you with, the opportunity to earn a Bachelors degree.
In the past three months I’ve had the privilege of speaking with over 100 former collegiate athletes on this topic. The athletes I spoke with came from all walks of life and had varying experiences of being an SA. Some of these athletes completed their degrees during their eligibility, some completed it after their professional sports careers were over, and some are still working hard to complete their degree. They provided me with insights of what it was like to be in each of those positions but the overall message was the same, “I wish (or I am glad) that I took advantage of the opportunities provided to me by the athletic department.”
Playing professional sports may be what a majority of athletes think they’re going to do after college but it is not guaranteed and is definitely not a life-long profession. If an SA doesn’t earn a degree by the end of her collegiate career she failed at earning her biggest reward from being a SA. That is why AthletesLTD is dedicated to provide highlights of all the great programs and services offered by athletic departments academic services centers. I spent the past two weeks in the South and spoke with athletic directors of academics from multiple Division 1 programs about what they offer their SA’s. In the upcoming weeks AthletesLTD will provide you inside access to how athletic departments are helping SA’s and creating well-rounded men and women through academics, leadership, accountability, and increased responsibility.
With the continued access and coverage to athletic departments academic centers we will change how collegiate and high school SA’s view the “student” part of student-athlete. All of AthletesLTD’s writers and contributors have been in the shoes of these SA’s, which is why we are taking responsibility in ensuring that the current SA’s don’t have to make the same mistakes we did.
AthletesLTD's Scholar Series will provide in depth reporting on a program provided by a university's athletic department and if other schools have a comparable program they can opt-in and will be included in our expansive list of awesome programs offered to student-athletes. Together, with the help of the athletic departments, we will be able to change how SA's view academics and value the opportunities before them.