The Weekly Take

This week officially marks the start of the fall semester.

The sweet, sweet chaos of getting our lives back in order. Sometimes being a student can feel like you’re living a double life — one at home and the other at school.

Throw in athletics and it may even feel like you are adding a third life into the mix. Balancing school and personal lives is difficult enough as is. College athletes are expected to attend class, practices and games all while attempting to maintain a healthy college experience.

I played sports every year, all year before I began college. Those times were much simpler, because everyone was in school at the same hours, so no events were scheduled at conflicting times.

College allows the freedom to build a schedule during days and evenings, but sometimes classes are offered at the worst possible times. Athletes at NAU see their advisers and create schedules that work around itineraries their coach built for both the regular and off-season.

Having first priority is a major perk, I imagine. Getting into all the correct classes without worrying about whether or not your name will be chosen from the waitlist is one less thing to worry about.

I’m also sure it causes some sort of stress. Your days, weeks and months are quickly being planned before your eyes, allowing little input. Advisers want you in classes and coaches need you at every meeting.

After interviewing and speaking with many athletes the past year, they’ve almost all explained that their coaching staff prioritizes academics. If a class conflicts with practice time, coaches are there to remind the player when they need to leave and head to their lecture.

Sure, college coaches are there to win games and titles. But they are also there to support the lives of men and women.

For example, football occasionally sets up a certain amount of study hall hours that players have to check into. The NAU Athletics website has a student-athlete development page that is flooded with resources to support its athletes.

Despite being responsible and relied on heavily during the school year, athletes are still humans, and humans are social beings. We need connections, conversations and gatherings. This comes with the responsibility of representing the team and university in an appropriate way. The pressures of bad influences are present all over a college campus. With the amount of athletes on campus, it is admirable how rare it is to see their names in bad press.