The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugolds excel at stressing academics for student athletes

A lot of people think collegiate athletes struggle academically, more so than students who aren’t involved in a sport.

At some schools, there is some justification for believing in the “dumb jock” syndrome.

For example, the University of Minnesota men’s basketball scandal proved that at least some of the school’s major athletes needed help with their academic workload.

Athletes at UW-Eau Claire, however, are getting by just fine in the classroom.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m proud that we have a lot of student athletes that blow the jock stereotype right out of the water,” said Tim Petermann, sports information director at Eau Claire.

During the 2001-02 school year, 469 Blugold athletes combined to achieve a GPA of 3.02. The GPA for the entire university was 3.04.

Many athletes, such as senior golfer Karen Law, attribute their academic success to managing their time more efficiently.

“Being in a sport helps you with time management,” said Law, a double major in human resource management and marketing. “You know when to get things done.”

Senior offensive lineman and kinesiology major Mike Bestul said he is more productive in the fall for the same reason.

“During football season school is almost easier because you know you have to focus,” Bestul said. “You don’t have all that extra time to sit around and watch TV or play video games.”

It’s common for anyone to get wrapped up in daily routine. Junior soccer player and elementary education major Kelly Kavanaugh is one athlete who relies on a consistent workout schedule to stay on track academically.

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep up,” Kavanaugh said, “but it’s almost like having a schedule where you’re practicing at the same time makes it easier to budget your time.”

As expected, time management is something that typically gets easier for athletes as they get older. Cross country runner Chad McCartney, a senior accounting major, said he has gradually become more adept at keeping up with his classes.

“I’ve been doing it so long now that I’ve learned better ways to stay organized,” McCartney said.

Athletes who participate in more than one sport or play a sport with dual seasons, such as tennis or golf, often become more accustomed to a tight schedule. McCartney runs cross country in the fall and track in the winter and spring.

He said he appreciates the short breaks in between seasons as a time to recover physically, but admits the mental adjustment to a new schedule can be tough.

“It’s a good time to catch up, but it’s also a time when you get out of rhythm,” McCartney said. “You have all this free time you’re not used to.”

Of course, not everyone can survive in the classroom while playing a sport.

Bestul said he had some teammates who quit football because their grades were dropping.

Most Blugold athletes, though, are using the consistent dedication they display for their sport to drive them in the classroom and put the “dumb jock” notion to rest.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Blugolds excel at stressing academics for student athletes