Madness in College Athletics Isn't Confined to March
The basketball arena is packed with a sellout crowd of over 13,000 cheering fans. The television
cameras capture the game for the entire nation. A horn blares, and the game, which was
supposed to be a blowout, is now in overtime. The pressure is huge, because if the underdog
wins, it would make history. Both teams are anxious, but focused, knowing that one misstep,
misjudgment, or misfire could make or break the season, and everything they have worked for
Such was the scene during the recent ‘March” game, between #4 seeded Syracuse, and #13
seeded Vermont, a.k.a. the ‘Cinderella Story,’ of this year’s NCAA tourney. The Catamounts,
who were not expected to make much noise during the tournament, opened it with a bang, after
securing a win over powerhouse Syracuse in the final seconds of overtime.
Now imagine, a player on Vermont’s super squad. He has spent the past few years working
nonstop to get to this point in his basketball career, and it has finally arrived. However, after the
cheering, congratulations, and celebrations, he must to school, and finish studying for midterms,
which happens to coincide with the post-season schedule.
When fans watch March Madness, or any other college sporting event, it is safe to say that most
don’t look at their TVs, and think about how the athletes will spend the bus ride home trying to
catch up on the schoolwork they missed so they could compete in the away game.
However, this is the reality of a college student-athlete. There are constant obligations to fulfill,
and expectations to be met, on every level, and most of the time, the reality is stressful.
“Athletes have additional time constraints, and pressure to perform not only academically, but
athletically….and then there’s the stress that their body undergoes,” said Lauren Haas, director
of student-athlete support services at Northeastern University.
Haas also pointed out that student-athletes face a strain to try and lead the life of a normal
college student, even though they have additional requirements. Student-athletes often have
similar obligations to the average student, in the classroom, and in the workforce.
Academically, athletes must complete the same amount of schoolwork as their peers, although
they have less time to complete it, and they miss classes to participate in scheduled
competitions. Most professors do not offer an extension on the workload.
Financially, many athletes have jobs to offset tuition costs, which they must juggle into a busy
schedule. Athletes who are not on scholarship are often economically hard-pressed, because
they do not have free time in which to make money.
“I have six dollars to my name right now, and I don’t have time for a job, which means I have to