Work Ethic of Student Athletes Shouldn’t be Overlooked

Jeremy Garson

On March 31, the BBC published an article by Anthony Zurcher, edited by Echo chambers, titled “This is an A-minus paper?” This article strengthens accumulating claims that the athletic honor code has been violated at the University of North Carolina. In a nutshell, a school tutor reported the uncannily high grade an athlete received for writing an essay, which took the form of a single paragraph likely plagiarized from Rosa Park’s autobiography. This new information exposes the ambiguous line student-athletes walk; some assert that no happy in-between can exist, and in some ways I agree.

Colgate University, a liberal arts institution exceptionally noted for its participation in the Division-I Patriot League, may find itself in a position of defending accusations similar to those of UNC. How should non-athlete students like myself feel if we are spending more time and effort to submit higher qualities, when athletes that may or may not be turning in lower quality work receive equivalent grades? Many athletes at Colgate University have a right to be upset about the hypothetical scenario I am indicating may exist at Colgate, but I want to exert my best effort to dispel claims that inequality exists even in light of an inflationary grading curve

for athletes.

I believe that it is the mission of my professors to identify my strengths and weaknesses so that I can adeptly avoid pitfalls in the “real world,” a place which each of us has a date with rather soon. Our adaptation to Colgate’s rigorous academic requirements instills resilience, dedication and even cunningness into our repertoire of real-world skills. By the end of their first year at Colgate, students have encountered a diverse set of challenges that hopefully spur growth via strengthening skill sets. These skills are vital to every student, because their preparation at Colgate will leave them well-rounded individuals that are also globally conscious and aware of the meaning that a tight-knit community can bring to one’s life.

Students and student-athletes participate in an array of activities that build real-life skills. Whether you participate in debate or sing in Cabaret, most of us find ways to challenge ourselves outside of the classroom. I view no extracurricular as more rigorous than belonging to an athletic team, and you are likely pulling the wool over your eyes if you think otherwise. I know that many student athletes wake-up in the early hours of the morning while I am preoccupied with dreaming. Practices are also physically draining, meaning an athlete has less energy with which to complete schoolwork.

They honorably represent our institution to other schools and when performing well, attract favorable publicity to our university.                           

Athletes intensively practice communication while strategizing how to come back in the second-half of a game. They are also well accustomed to the burden of responsibility and the consequences of letting a goal in or failing to demonstrate leadership.

Some athletes have been born with amazing faculties of intelligence that permit them to expertly juggle school and athletic commitments. Since individuals vary in almost every capacity, I am sure some athletes at Colgate University are lacking in this department. While I do not think Colgate University would ever inflate the mediocre paragraph written by the UNC athlete to an A-, I do think that some athletes deserve some degree of grade inflation, despite all Colgate students feeling the pain of grade deflation. Everyone has a unique combinations of skills that has granted them acceptance to this prestigious university. Some individuals have giddily unwrapped a life inherently filled with money, intelligence or athletic capabilities, while others have scraped by capitalizing on sheer perseverance and determination.

Whatever our talent, Colgate accepted us knowing that with hard work, we can blossom into individuals that will shape the world either by professional standing, academic pursuits or by applying our well-informed and globally conscious lens to the world.

If we stick it out through the tough times, especially the next few weeks of final projects, we will be one step closer to the real world and our Colgate degree. Student-athletes are part of our rather small community and they are getting ready for the real world just as much as, if not more than, the general student population. So before drawing parallels between student-athlete grade inflation at UNC and Colgate, remember that their performance is hindered by the enormous commitment required by participating on a D1 team, and that these individuals are working towards the same degree we are. For the time being, we are all headed in the same direction and are currently up against very similar challenges. It is against our own self-interest to unfairly persecute an integral part of our community based on a hypothetically existent asymmetric grading standard. Even if these policies do exist, our efforts would be best spent focusing on our studies and caring less about situational variances between students.

                           Contact Jeremy Garson

at [email protected]