“You’re missing lectures and the info you need for that class,” said Jordan Wilson, a sophomore on the women’s basketball team. “But probably 90 percent of my teachers are accommodating.”
So what about that other 10 percent?
This is where the struggle comes in being both a student and competitive athlete. Time and time again you hear “normal every day students” as team members put it, complain that the athletes on campus get special treatment.
English major Ruby Walden sees student athletes getting perks that other students miss out on. “You’re here to play sports, I get it” said the 20-year-old, “but sometimes, yeah, I think it’s easy for athletes to take advantage of that in the classroom and with teachers.”
What lots of students may not understand is that it’s extra tough maintaining the grades required for academic eligibility while finding the practice time to stay on top of your game.
Cody Bench, coach of the Nanook women’s basketball team, recalls the days when she used to have to participate in study hall as a student athlete, although that was short lived because of her great academic performance, “I had a 4.0 when I was a senior in college, so I didn’t need study hall, but for my team today it’s required.”
Traveling athletes are UAF must take part in mandatory hour-long study hall sessions. This means uninterrupted study time, sometimes in a hotel lobby, room, or dining hall.
But is it enough?
One hour a day seems to cover maybe one assignment, said Autumn Childers, a UAF women’s basketball player.“Maybe to get one class done” she said, “but not for five of them.”
All student athletes have that one special incentive; grades mean playing time.
To stay eligible for season play, student athletes are required to take 12 credits minimum and they must be passing those classes.
The NCAA Division 2 eligibility rules are based on a 4.0 grading scale. The rules state: “Division II student-athletes must earn a 1.8 GPA after a 24 credit semester, a 1.9 GPA after a 48 credit semester and a 2.0 GPA after a 72 credit semester.”
Not only do they have to achieve this, but most Nanook teams have set their own team GPA goals which the athletes are expected to meet. The UAF women’s basketball requires their athletes to achieve as a team a 3.2 or higher.
What this means, is that not only do student athletes undergo strenuous activity and training every week, but they must also find a way to meet these requirements.
Childers spends her free time (what she has of it), working on Blackboard and trying to teach herself the material she is missing. That self-help is essential, the sophomore guard said. “You don’t have your teachers there explaining it to you.”
Senior Kelly Logue plays guard for the UAF woman’s basketball team.