Student athletes and responsibilities

Natalie Mander, Sports Editor

The term “student athlete” is defined as one who must typically balance the roles of being a full-time student and a full-time athlete. They carry the responsibilities of setting an example for others and being an active participant in class. However, this is easier said than done.

We all have those days where we come home from a long day of school along with practice or a game and just collapse on the bed, too tired to think of finishing homework. But when a one night exception becomes a habit, it is hard to get back into a balanced schedule of sports, homework and sleep. Once you have fallen behind on homework, there is a slim chance to bring up your grade again.

With the new rule by the Illinois High School Association, student athletes must be passing five classes to be eligible for their sport. Students are now taking extra time to maintain their grades. This rule should not be the motivation for an athlete to be not just passing their classes. It is naïve to assume that all student athletes are motivated to be success in both their sport and school. I don’t intend to send the message that all student athletes are incapable of maintaining their grades independently. However, a healthy balance between athletics and academics is essential to a positive high school experience. Student-athlete Haylie Clement, is enrolled in all honors classes at Joliet West. She often finds herself stressed, but loves the challenge of balancing academics and athletics. “Being a student athlete allows me focus on my school work in order to play the sports that I love,” said Clement.

Above all, academics trumps athletics. Many colleges grant athletic scholarships to athletes, but the scholarships are also given based on the athlete’s grades and their attitude in the classroom. As Mr. Milsaps always reminds students, “The student in student athlete come first for a reason. Academics always come first.”