Student-athletes are students, too.
So we’re proud to learn Temple doesn’t take shortcuts – like other schools do – in athletes’ academic experiences.
A recent USA Today article reports that a majority of student-athletes at 142 colleges with strong athletic programs typically tend to graduate from “easier” majors. This is mostly because advisers point them in that direction to reduce or eliminate the fear of not meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.
The NCAA has specific regulations for student-athletes. By the end of sophomore year, athletes must have at least 40 percent of their degree work complete. This would be easier to accomplish in a liberal arts major than it would in science or business, theoretically.
As The Temple News reports this week, members from a certain sports team tend to have similar majors. For example, many baseball players major in business-related studies, while football players gravitate toward criminal justice.
The USA Today report said many universities’ advisers direct student-athletes to pick the easier majors despite what the athletes’ true interests may be. Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Drew Radovich, who went to Southern California, picked sociology only because that’s what many other football players – 58 percent, in fact – chose.
Some seem to be too scared to follow their dreams (and pick a relevant major) because of the stress of the NCAA and, in some cases, academic advisers.
Student-athletes are motivated to do well in class and maintain a solid grade point average because their eligibility depends on it. But we commend Temple athletes for not necessarily taking an easy ‘A’ all the time. And we commend academic advisers who encourage these athletes to pursue tougher majors.
According to the 2007-2008 annual report from Temple Athletics, the 24 intercollegiate teams earned an admirable 2.95 collective GPA, a record high. Eleven teams exceeded a 3.0 average, also a record.
Considering that six teams qualified for NCAA postseason competition, those statistics are especially noteworthy.
We look up to our student-athletes for all they are able to accomplish. But we should not forget, as they cannot, that we are at Temple for a greater reason than to watch or play sports. We chose Temple for its educational opportunities.
At the end of the day, we’re all students. On and off the field.