Thursday, November 26, 2020

College, athletics delicate balance to keep

*** Disclaimer: This is the opinion of writer and does not represent the opinion of Cardinal Points as a whole. ***

College is hard. Playing Division III sports is hard. Doing both at the same time? Some may call it impossible.

There are 17 intercollegiate teams here at Plattsburgh State, all of which are filled with student-athletes who are forced to balance their schoolwork and commitment to their team.

The vast majority of sporting events during the fall and winter seasons take place on the weekend. While these weekend matches may limit student-athletes’ social lives, they most likely do not interfere with their classes. This is ideal, being that they are student-athletes — notice the word student appearing first.

This entire dynamic changes, however, during the spring season, with this season being especially brutal. The extremely harsh winter that has carried over into the spring has caused a large number of cancelations and reschedules, many of which end up being on weekdays. This adds to the already semi-large number of games being played during the week by PSUC teams this season.

For example, the baseball team plays 12 games this season Mondays through Thursdays. Three of these games are away, meaning that players most definitely have to miss classes and have much less time to work on homework due during the week as well.

The lacrosse team has not had as large an issue as baseball in terms of games being rescheduled, but that is due to the fact that they have a limited number of home games scheduled from February through April. From February 25, their first game of the season, through April 1, PSUC played only one home game. Six of these away games were played during the week, some requiring the Cards to travel upwards of four hours.

There has been a lot of scandal in the news lately surrounding college athletes and academics, the most famous being: Syracuse University losing its chance to play in the NCAA tournament this season, multiple scholarships over the next few years, and the vacating of 108 wins by hall of fame coach Jim Boeheim.

Here at PSUC, student-athletes are expected to perform the same duties as all the other students. Communication between athletes, coaches and professors is key.

Lacrosse head coach Ryan Cavanagh and SUNYAC leading scorer Jack Felter both said the professors here go above and beyond to accommodate their inconvenient schedule. Felter does feel that it can still be overwhelming at times to balance both school and lacrosse, but with the help of his professors, he accomplishes what he needs to get done on a weekly basis.

Playing games during the week while being a full-time college student is obviously not ideal. It is, however, necessary. Being a successful student and athlete is contingent on more than just the student. Coaches need to understand that professors have work for students to do, and professors need to understand that the student is also an athlete and has made a large commitment to a team. When they are on the same page, a student has the best chance to be successful, and that should be what is most important.

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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