Here I sit, way too early in the morning,
amongst a heap of dirty clothes, with papers littered all over the
floor. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since I can remember. I have
a sore throat and my bed isn’t made. Exams weigh heavy on my mind
because of heavy parental pressure. I can’t find my wallet and even if
I did, it wouldn’t have any money in it.
Ahhh, college. Everyone tells you it’s the best time of your life. For
me right now, it is. I have very little responsibility, can usually
sleep in, and routinely stay up until 3 am. The thing about it is, I’m
not even an athlete.
These athletes are required to attend every class, keep their weight
and conditioning in check and manage to make it to practice. They have
immense pressure from fans, coaches and peers to manage their time
while still trying to balance academia.
I tip my hat to these student athletes. With Terry Holland’s new
academic policy, I would have lost my scholarship last week. That would
be if I had one. Miss one class and an athlete misses a practice. I
Normal fans can’t comprehend players such as James Pinkney and Guy
Whimper receiving academic expulsion. Being a student, I completely
understand. They have playbooks, they have to study, 8 a.m. classes,
all while being sore from getting their face pounded week in and week
Most alumni and fans could watch ESPN, grill out at 2 pm on a Tuesday
or go downtown throughout the week. These athletes simply can’t do
that. They have too much responsibility from their scholarship that
they have to uphold.
I have trouble fathoming what Samantha Pankey has accomplished. Pankey,
a senior on the ECU women’s basketball team, has a 4.0 GPA while being
a double major in English and Communications. Not too shabby. Pankey is
also one of the few athletes who obviously understand how to balance
her time. Being bright probably doesn’t hurt either.
Athletes also miss a huge chunk of classes because of the large
geographic area of Conference USA. When the men’s golf team flies to
Houston to play a tournament, each player usually misses two days of
classes. Each team has the same problem. Athletes usually miss
approximately ten classes per semester, which greatly influences their
My mental stress over grades and exams combined with my physical stress
from lack of sleep and being sick seems trivial. I don’t have students
staring at me on campus, have to lift everyday or even attend every
Keep this in mind when you clap for the 50-odd people that get
recognized for their scholastic achievements at a football or
basketball game. They have earned it where I probably couldn’t. Just
remember that athletes are students too.