Student Athletes: Breaking down the Jock stereotype one A at a time?

Sep 2, 2009

    How many times has the classic jock image crossed in front of your eyes on the big screen? A tall dark and handsome varsity player of soccer, football, or baseball with the smart girl falling for him, then having to help him in class as she drools over the opportunity to get so close and make a good impression. Or the classic stereotype of cheerleaders as ditsy? What other athletic personas have always represented the antithesis of geekhood? Too many, and it's time to clear up this stereotype and bring out the real fact that those in athletics, specifically college (in this stage, the athletic process is more selective) have to be smart to succeed. Is there a correllation between athletic success and success in the classroom? How does this correlate between sports? What sports have the highest GPA's across the board? Is there a mentality associated with that sport, or all sports, that leads to academic drive and high academic performance? These questions are all facets to an answer that, hopefully, points to the idea that to truly succeed in athletics one must have the intelligence potential to succeed academically. By looking at the most successful athletes in high school and college sports, which sport they participate in and their academic performance, the refutation of the typical jock stereoptype is what i feel to be inevitable. Hopefully, the importance of athletics will be recognized in fostering a good GPA as well as good social skills, and all those "nerdy" kids locked in a room with books and a calculator will open the door and convert their school success to athletic success. Athletics needs intelligent people to grow in a positive, healthy and efficient direction centering around not just the physical attributes of athletics, but around athletics as a science.


Being an athlete requires strenuous practices; usually occurring more than once a day. It requires time-management; there are no days off for an athlete. It requires traveling, missing classes and any chance to relax. Physically and mentally drained, it's no wonder athletes struggle in the classroom.

The high profile sports, such as basketball and football, bring in money and recognition to the school and conference. And students receive nothing but criticism for failing academically to meet certain standards. But, how can an athlete who is admitted to a university based purely on athletic ability, be expected to succeed in an institution that students admitted solely on academic ability struggle with as well?


These two posts are from: Daily Campus Article
In the NCAA survey of Division I athletes, more than 70% said they considered themselves more of an athlete than a student. Football players estimated they spent 44.8 hours a week on their sport. That was nearly five hours a week more than any other sport — and 10 hours a week more than a majority of sports in the survey.
One player, echoing the words of others, said the workouts in the past two off-seasons at Michigan “affected people’s grades. People were falling asleep in class.”

Post from:  NCAA survey article


Based on these articles, we can draw a few conclusions perhaps explainging what it is that may cause an athlete to struggle. First, it is common in each of the articles that these people seem to spend more time and consider themselves as athletes, and many of the best athletes that get accepted to schools that are also academically strong schools, too, so s a result may be placed too high academically for their standards. (So far my arguement isn't holding up, but it may as i delve into more sports specific results.) The other thing that causes athletes to struggle is simply stress and fatigue it looks like - "people were falling asleep in class" is a definite problem for academic success. I will tell you firsthand that oftentimes i have difficulty staying awake because I was up late doing homework after a really tough practice that ran long or something like that. So maybe time management is an issue, not smarts? There is more to this post coming up, as i will probably look at Judge Sports leaders and their academic records, as well as runners vs. football players vs golfers vs dancers, etc, in high school and college.
USC student-athletes have improved immensely at the academic level, as the combined grade point average for the fall 2000 semester was at an all-time high. The 2.874 combined GPA for all 17 varsity sports teams breaks the previous record of 2.834 set last spring. Fourteen of the 17 teams increased their GPA from a year ago, and this past fall, nine of those teams scored better than a 3.0. "The academic performance of our student-athletes continues to show steady progress, both as an overall department and with the individual achievements that have been accomplished," USC athletics director Mike McGee said. The women's golf team took top honors among the 17 sports with a 3.569 GPA. Below it was men's swimming (3.397), women's tennis (3.351), equestrian (3.236), men's soccer (3.126), men's golf (3.120), women's soccer (3.119), softball (3.056) and women's track (3.048). "The student-athletes and coaches should be commended for their focus and efforts in making academics a priority," McGee said. The lower-tier sports also showed an improvement over the last year. The football team saw their GPA increase from 2.305 to 2.459, and the men's basketball team went up to 2.648 after having a 2.312 GPA last spring. In addition, 24 athletes earned a perfect 4.0 and were named to the President's List. One hundred twelve athletes were above a 3.5 (3.25 for freshmen) and made the Dean's List. Nearly half (47 percent) of USC's student-athletes had a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The fall 2000 academic report:Baseball 2.885Men's basketball 2.648 Women's basketball 2.602Football 2.459Equestrian 3.236Men's golf 3.120 Women's golf 3.569Men's soccer 3.126Women's soccer 3.119Softball 3.056 Men's swimming 2.933Women's swimming 3.397Men's tennis 2.942Women's tennis 3.351 Men's track 2.898Women's track 3.048Volleyball 2.973Overall 2.874

This quote is from the: GPA Article