Athletics and Academics


Emily Myslinski

JU track and field athlete, Lyric Schmalz, doing homework in the Student-Athlete Center for Success located in Botts Hall.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Many people do not know about all the benefits athletics provides for academics.

We have all heard the stereotypes about athletes and academics: student-athletes are not smart, they have other people do their work, and they do not need to get good grades because their school is already paid for.

Although we have all heard the debates about how athletes are just in school for their sport and do not care about their academics nearly as much, many student-athletes say they are just as focused on their academics as their sports.

One reason may be the academic resources athletes have at their fingertips.

JU’s Athletic Department has many benefits available for athletes. Some of the benefits include study hours, Dolphin Life and the Student-Athlete Center for Success. The latter, some say, is where all the magic happens to ensure athletes’ academic victory.

For starters, to ensure freshmen understand how to handle the challenges of balancing a 20-hour practice schedule with academics, JU makes all freshman athletes do study hours. This makes them aside time for schoolwork at the Student-Athlete Center for Success.

In fact, even non-freshmen student-athletes must maintain a 3.0 GPA to avoid mandatory study hours. Some may think of this as a burden rather than a benefit, but others see it as a decided benefit.

“Study hours are pretty great because it’s time you know you have to study and get your work done. Plus there is free printing,” said freshman rower Kimmi Brostek. “The hours also help make sure your grades are up so you don’t lose your scholarship if you have one for athletics.”

If students are struggling in a class, the Student-Athlete Center for Success also has tutors available. This means there is no excuse for not understanding what is going in a class.

On top of this, there are advisory benefits as well. There are three academic advisors divided among the JU sports. This means student-atheltes have two advisors, their academic advisor assigned solely based of their major, and their team designated one.

Brostek said that if she has an academic concern, she actually goes to her athletic advisor first.

“They will get done what I need in a timely manner because the advisors for athletes don’t have as many students to see as my academic advisor does.”

Athletes also have the joy of having priority registration for classes, registering directly after seniors even if the student is a freshman.

“Student-athletes receive this benefit to help ensure they get into the classes they need that fit into their demanding practice schedule,” said athletic advisor Angelia Morrison.

All athletes are also required to attend Dolphin Life, which is a series of programs that gives tips on how to be the best student. Additionally, seniors must attend Preparation Programs which instruct seniors about what life is like outside of being an athlete. This is to make sure they are prepared and ready to be out in the real world.

“There are many benefits given to athletes, whether they use them or not is up to them,” Morrison said. “They get out what they put in when it comes to athletics. We give so many benefits so they win off the field just like they strive to win on the field.”