||President Roush featured in national Associated Press article on the NCAA experience
RELEASED: September 10, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College President John Roush knows from real world experience how the life of a college athlete has been transformed over the years, and he recently shared this knowledge in an Associated Press article titled, "Not a game, a job: NCAA athletes work long hours."
The AP story, written by national AP education reporter Justin Pope, appeared online at ABC News, AOL News, CBS News, Fox News, and Yahoo! News and World News Network. It also ran in numerous newspapers, including New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Examiner, Detroit News and Palm Beach Post. Total circulation of publications the article has appeared in thus far totals well over four million.
Pope's article focused on the fact that despite the NCAA's 20-hours-per-week limit on practices, most NCAA Division I student athletes spend nearly twice that on athletic activities each week.
Roush was the ideal person to be interviewed for such a story. In the early 1970's, he played football at Ohio University, where he was named Scholar Athlete of the Year and was a three-time Academic All-American. He later watched both his sons play Division I college football, one at Duke and the other at Northwestern.
Yet by the time his sons began playing college football, Roush told Pope, being a college athlete "had become, in fact, a job. It was a job they welcomed…but it owned too much of their experience."
Like Roush's sons, student athletes at Centre welcome the opportunity to compete in their respective sports. And several agree that being a college athlete can, though very different in Division III, have aspects that are like a job.
"I would definitely agree that being a college athlete, despite what sport you play, is very much a job," says Amber Lyvers '10, who has been on the Centre swim team since her freshman year. "No matter what the sport is, it requires a lot of work and dedication. Much like a job, there's a lot to do and there are always people to hold you accountable and who also depend on you."
Others agree with tennis player Brenton Deal '10, who says that "playing sports while trying to keep up with your studies can sometimes feel like a full-time job, but I play the sport because I really love the game."
Harry Gerard '10 feels the same. Now beginning his fourth year as a member of the men's soccer team, he says that "being a college athlete can be like a 'job' because of the time commitment. But here at Centre, I don't think it gets to the point where it's too overwhelming focusing on both a sport and academics. Centre's a really challenging institution and playing a sport makes it even more challenging. But once you learn how to organize your day, you find out it's not so difficult. It's all about learning to be organized and staying on point."
Most Centre athletes agree that balance and organization are key.
"Balancing tennis and schoolwork is definitely a struggle, but it also helps keep me focused and on task," says Karolyn Hays '11, now in her third year as a member of the women's tennis team. "I know that any time I have an hour here or there I have to use it efficiently and get something done. Playing a sport doesn't really allow time to be wasted.”
Football player Nick Hobbs '11 shares the sentiment. "I feel like when I'm in season and busy with football and school I get more work done," he says, "because I make sure I manage my time better. Time management is very important to having a good balance of school and football."
Though they push their players in practice and encourage them to give their all in every competition, the coaches at Centre—unlike those at some Division I schools—know that academics come first.
"It takes a lot of dedication and a good work ethic to efficiently balance basketball and homework," says Chelsea Goodman, who is beginning her fourth year as a member of the women's basketball team. "Coach Austin-Robinson is very understanding of the time needed to prepare academically and knows that is our number one priority."
Agreeing, soccer player Patrick Garvey '10 says, "This is a Division III program at a great academic school, so the standards are likely different from Division I universities. Most days when we are at Centre, it's just another responsibility to add to classes and social life."
And the rewards of playing sports at Centre, most agree, outweigh any negative aspects.
"To play a sport at Centre is time consuming, but it's worth it," Hobbs says. "From being a part of the team I’ve made my best friends, and games are a time to go out and have fun and see all your hard work pay off."
Agreeing, Goodman says, "Although it can be very time-consuming and often hectic, it's an experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life and wouldn’t trade for anything. Learning to be a team player, balancing school and basketball and developing lifelong friendships while participating in the sport you love is well worth the time and commitment."
To read the Associated Press article about the time commitments of NCAA athletes, click here.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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