That word is commonly thrown around for people who play sports in college.
Notice the first word, student, comes before the second word, athlete. This is a fact many fans don’t consider.
Stories are written day-in and day-out about how athletes perform on the court, but I have yet to see a newspaper article, radio show or TV segment discuss how a team’s star basketball player performed on his or her calculus test.
People in the media, myself included, get so wrapped up in the action that we don’t consider the main reason athletes are here.
We’ve all seen the NCAA’s commercials telling us how there are, “380,000 student-athletes and just about every one of them will go pro in something other than sports.”
But for some reason this just doesn’t stick with sports fans.
It’s not unusual to hear a fan say he “hates” a specific basketball player just because he misses a shot or can’t pull down a rebound.
What fans don’t consider is why.
What if that player had a big test the next morning and it was in the back of his or her mind? Or maybe he or she already did poorly on a test because of spending too much time practicing his or her sport.
Are these athletes wrong for focusing on school?
Let’s look at men’s basketball, Bradley’s most popular sport.
The NBA Draft consists of two rounds, with 30 picks each.
In last year’s draft, 26 of the first 30 selections went to players from BCS-conference schools and players from overseas. In the second round just two mid-major players were selected.
This brings the grand total of non-BCS and non-foreign players that were drafted into the NBA to six, which includes zero players from the Missouri Valley Conference.
So, as much as the media, again including myself, hypes up Bradley basketball, we have to remember in almost every case that is not why the student is here.
Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh has repeatedly expressed his desire for academic excellence from his student-athletes, and they have not let him down.
Bradley has led the MVC in student-athlete graduation rate for the past eight seasons, according to the Federal Graduation Rates Report by the NCAA, and the athletes haven’t slowed down this year.
Last semester, 123 of 180 student athletes scored a spot on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, posting a 3.0 or higher grade point average.
As a whole, the athletes’ GPA was 3.17, higher than the 3.11 GPA of the Bradley student body, according to bradleybraves.com.
Twenty-four student-athletes received straight A’s for the semester.
These athletes, who put so much effort into their sports, are going above and beyond in the classroom as well.
So next time you see your favorite student-athlete walking around campus, don’t be afraid to congratulate them on their good grades while wishing them good luck at their next game.
Alex Mayster is a junior journalism major from Palatine. He is the Scout sports editor.
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