The Athlete’s Sacrifice

Imagine having to give up afternoon and night classes, or the opportunity to study abroad. Many of the options available to the typical college student are not accessible for student-athletes.

Athletes at the University of Tampa have made countless sacrifices for their sports this year.

You have read their stories [hopefully] and seen the Spartans excel on the athletic field [some of you], but as the semester comes to an end, it is important to realize just how hard they have worked to represent UT.

A typical day for many of the athletes consist of class in the morning, followed by practice from 2-6, leaving little time to join other organizations or groups. Although UT is one of the top Division II athletic programs in the country, there is a lack of scholarships, yet athletes remain on the practice field usually three times a week during the off-season.

Whether it is Johnathan Ball practicing his jump shot in the off-season, or rarely utilized Connor Drum working on his ball-handling, being an athlete is a year round activity which involves a tremendous amount of time and dedication.

“Its tough having to take all morning classes, but there are pros and cons to everything,” Ball said. “It takes a lot of hard work, and I know I’m missing out on meeting a lot of people because of the schedule I have, but I’ve also gotten to know a lot of great people by playing basketball.

Erin Clark has had to balance going to 8 a.m. classes, going to practice, coaching volleyball and being able to compete on a National Championship team.

“When we have a day off it’s like I don’t know what to do,” Clark said. “I am busy all the time.”

In addition to playing on the soccer team Nicole Murphy has also served as a lab assistant, worked at Panera Bread, been a student government representative and worked with UT Emergency Medical Services.

Despite having little time outside of the soccer field and classroom, Murphy is just one of the many student athletes who have been able to find balance with all the activities she is involved in.

“I had the desire to study abroad in Oxford, but realized that with soccer I probably wouldn’t be able to,” Murphy said. “You have to decide what is most important and dedicate yourself to those activities.”

Notes: National Student-Athlete Day celebrated its twentieth anniversary on April 6. Since 1997, over two million student-athletes have been recognized.

Parents, teachers, coaches and administrators have also been recognized on that day for making it possible for student-athletes to succeed.

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