By Dae Shik Kim
Many UH Manoa athletes say that academics are not even on their top priority list, as long as bad grades doesn’t hurt them from getting on the field. So what does the university do to help make student athletes succeed? Baseball scholar Jordan Deponte, said UH Manoa helps him in many ways.
“The University provides tutors for each class, for free,” Deponte said. “They help you on every test and make sure you know their stuff. The University isn’t going to waste their scholarship money and allow you not to be eligible.”
Wasting money on athletes is something universities try hard not to do. If that means providing athletes with as much studying and class help as possible, the university tends to jump right on it, says student athletes.
Non-athletes that attended the university look to see if the same tutoring help was offering to all students, it was clearly not the same. At UH Manoa, some tutoring help is available for non-athlete students, but it was only for a total of 37 courses. An average student will take more than 37 courses throughout his or her college tenure. Non-athlete student John Kim was a little disappointed at this.
“I understand that athletes are the ‘pride and glory’ of our school, said deponte, but we need some help too. I looked on the list of courses that they are providing help for, and it’s a little sad. You basically need to be a Chem major to get help for free at the school.”
More than a quarter of the free tutoring offered to non athletes is for chemistry courses, but are the student athletes at universities really getting a lot more help in other subjects, or are they taking an easier load of classes?
USA Today did a story on athletes and their regrets on picking an easier major just to be eligible to play sports. Former Kansas State linebacker, Steven Cline got a degree in Social Science, but wishes he took his academics more seriously.
His program is 34 percent of the school’s football team’s juniors and seniors last season. Only 4 percent of the rest of the school took this major. He says he feels that the football team chose this major because it was easier to do and wouldn’t effect them playing football.
“I realize I just wasted all my efforts in high school and college to get a social science degree,” says Cline, he also shared that his poor grade in biology in freshman year made his counselor advise him to switch majors. Some athletes say they have pursued — or have been steered to — degree programs that helped keep them eligible for sports but didn’t prepare them for post-sports careers.
The debate of whether the benefits of being a student athlete is based on them being an athlete, or them taking an easier load of classes can vary with different people. When asked, children education professor Sarah Lee, still thinks a little bit of both.
“I feel like they make it as easy as possible for athletes to get their degrees. That’s why a lot of them who graduate have a bit of useless degrees. Well, it’s only useless if you don’t know how to use it, which most athletes don’t. And as easy as their majors may be, or made to be, they still get as much help needed in each class. So overall, academic wise, it pays to be an athlete.” Says Elementary school teacher, Sarah Lee.