Playing a varsity sport in college is a privilege that only around seven percent of high school athletes will experience. Additionally, of that seven percent, only two percent consist of Division 1. College athletics is a very underrated form of athleticism. Although amateur, college athletics holds similar standards to professional athletics.
WE GET FREE APPAREL
The first stereotype of Division 1 athletics is that all equipment and apparel is free. This is true to an extent. Every team has a budget, and that budget depends on fundraising, as well as the amount of donors and sponsors.We are given clothes to practice and travel in, with a very strict policy of when and where we are permitted to wear them. This is a universal policy, for any division of sports teams.
WE ARE UNDER MORE ACADEMIC PRESSURE
During season, we are permitted to miss class for athletic competition, which becomes extremely difficult during testing. Most professors are flexible, but occasionally we encounter some who have difficulty with accommodating our needs. I can personally say I have experienced lower grades due to this situation, despite giving maximum effort.
WE DEDICATED 20+ HOURS EACH WEEK TO OUR SPORT
As an athlete, we are required to go to practice and class, and must accommodate.For example, if a team has morning practice, classes are throughout the day or at night, and if a team has afternoon practice, classes are in the early morning and late at night.But, more importantly speaking, coaches are allowed to hold twenty hours of practice, weights, conditioning, etc. each week.That is twenty additional hours of studying regular students can do that we cannot.
But, realistically speaking, athletes dedicated far more than twenty weekly hours in their sport. The twenty hours mentioned is the minimum amount we do. As an athlete, if you are not performing well, or if you work hard in general, you do extra work on your own, which is even more hours taken away from studying.
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WATCHING
Some conferences in Division 1 athletics are nationally recognized, and some collegiate athletes are equally as well-known as some professionals. The difficult thing is that as much as us athletes want to have a college experience, we cannot live the same experiences as regular students due to our schedules, and public appearances. Many children look up to collegiate athletes, therefore we must keep a good image to our name.
Also, we represent our university, so by giving ourselves a bad image, we are also giving the university a bad image. We must think unselfishly so that our actions do not cause a bad image to be associated with our team, program, or staff.
College athletics is hard, especially if an athlete is studying a difficult major.The motivation one must have in order to be a student-athlete (in ANY division) is extremely underestimated.Above all, no student-athlete would every regret being one.