The decision to become a college athlete is a big decision. College sports are not necessarily hard compared to a high school level, but it is more time-consuming. It takes away from your studies and potentially your social life outside of your sport.

Do you focus on your school work to help you excel in the professional world? Can you make a lifestyle out of this sport after college? What’s your back up plan?

I can tell you what it is — your education. You need to learn how to balance your studies and your game in order to do what you love in your life.

PSUC has 17 intercollegiate sports teams whose players work hard on and off the fields and courts to pursue their dreams. Being a student athlete is demanding, and you need to learn how to deal with whatever obstacles get in the way.

Now why can’t athletes at the University of North Carolina take their education and future a little more seriously?
Becoming a collegiate athlete for a school such as UNC, a top-ranked university, is a dream come true for young athletes everywhere. Recently, though, the cat’s been let out of the bag.

They have been caught handing out degrees designed speicifically for student athletes so they can graduate and stay on sports teams for the past 18 years. And they do not even think they can take them back because they have already been handed out. And let’s face it, 18 years is a long time.

Some of those former student athletes are already settled in their careers and professional sports. Is it worth taking these degrees back? They should just keep them, considering they were able to get away with it. But on the other hand, it’s an empty degree. They may have it framed on their wall somewhere, but it was not earned with dignity like those students and fellow teammates who spent long hours in the library day in and day out.

Part of being a college athlete is the fact that when you graduate, you were able to play a sport you loved, receive an education and prepare for the real world all at the same time. Athletes need to find that balance.

Those students who were enrolled in those fake courses did nothing but cheat their way through school and take the spot on a team from a prospective player who would have done anything to play on the team and work their hardest in the classroom.

A degree looks good on paper, but it’s unfair that you got to do what you love in school breezing through easy, meaningless classes while your teammates and fellow students vigorously worked and paid a heavy tuition to play Division I sports. Maybe to compensate you can pay some of their loans back.

What helps you sleep at night, the fake degree hanging on your bedroom wall? Did you get the experience you always hoped for? If so, then congratulations on graduating — you did it.

UNC is still investigating these fake courses and are trying to take action regarding the situation. They’re going to have to fix their sports program as well as their academia in order to get their school to the prestigious level it was at before.

Email Jennifer Greenberg at jennifer.greenberg@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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