The NCAA organization have a bad reputation of treating their student athletes badly. In the TV show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver is talking about the March Madness tournament, a basketball tournament that brings in over a billion dollars only by TV advertisings, and yet, the players does not get payed a penny for participating. Disregarding the huge profits the NCAA makes in this tournaments one of the players, Shabazz Napier, is witnessing about nights when he goes to bed hungry: ”sometimes, there are hungry nights where I am not able to eat but I still got to play up to my capabilities”. This problem however is only affecting division 1 schools. It is in fact a big difference between division 1 schools and division 3 schools. Division 3 college athletic programs benefit the students. Division 3 college athletics does not only give the athletes an unique opportunity to preform and play their sport on a high level, it also teaches athletes time management skills, to take responsibility over schoolwork, how to be a good teammate and how to work well in a group. These skills are useful when taking the big step from college to work. Last but not least, the sports provide a great opportunity for the athletes to build friend relationships.
According to people like Richard Sherman, a former college athlete who now plays pro NFL football, athletes is given an unfair and impossible workload. This is Shermans words, describing his experiences from college with having a packed schedule: ”You wake up in the morning you have weights at this time, then after weights you go to class and after class you go maybe try to grab you a quick bite to eat, then after you get your quick bite to eat you go straight to meetings and after meetings you’ve got practice and after practice you’ve got to try to get all work done you had throughout the day from your lectures and from your focus groups.” This is true, but at division 3 schools the workload can be a good thing. A student athlete must be very disciplined with planning their schoolwork in order to be successful in school. I know from my own experiences of being a student athlete that it can be a struggle some times to have time to finish homework in time and some times I even have to miss class because my sport schedule is in conflict with my classes. By being a student athlete I am more or less ”forced” to take extra responsibility over my schoolwork and this responsibility is hopefully later on going to be transmitted over to when I start working and also benefit me in other situations too. It is therefore important for student athletes to have good time managing skills and to always think one step ahead and make sure to not fall behind with the schoolwork. The key is to always know what you have to do and when it is due and prioritize after that. It is true that being a division 3 college athlete can be stressful but by learning how to use the time wisely, the stress is not going to be an obstacle, rather something that the student can take advantage of. Division 3 student athletes benefit from learning these skills in the future as well, executive director at CUNY athletic conference, Zak Ivkovic, argues that division 3 student athletes: ”go on to apply the values they have learned as participants in college sports to successful professional careers and in their personal lives”.
College team-sports on division 3 level provides a built-in social network and it helps student athletes to make friends when arriving to campus. There is of course a risk that if you do not make the team the next year that you will not have any friends left. Therefore it is important to branch out and meet other people on campus. For students who are not involved in any sororities or sports, the ”first year experience” here at SNC is a great way to make new friends, and there are also a lot of activities going on in the resident halls where students can meet new friends. When I committed to SNC early this summer, all of my teammates added me on Facebook and almost everyone wrote to me welcoming me to the team. They introduced themselves and said that they were excited to see me and if I needed help with anything I could reach out to them. My teammates gave me advice about what to pack and they answered every question I had about classes and hockey and everything I wanted to know. This helped me very much with my transition from my life in Sweden to my life here on college. When I first met my teammates I felt like if I already knew them because I had been chatting with them online and seen their profile pictures on Facebook. I have never experienced a group or a team where I have felt so welcomed as I did when I got here.
Being a part of a team teaches you how to work well in a group and that is a skill that is useful even after college. It teaches the importance of sportsmanship and being respectful to all of the members in the group even when you might have different opinions about things, you goal is still the same and that is what you have to work for to get it done. Being a part of a team is a great experience. You are being a part of something bigger than yourself and this means that you have to pay attention to other people than yourself. In a discussion we had in class about our own experiences of college athletics and the lessons we have learnt from being a college athlete, my classmate Isabel Detienne told us about when someone in her golf team who broke the teams’ rules about drinking. The consequences of her teammates drinking affected the whole team and they could not play any more in that tournament. When being a part of a team it is important to be respectful everyone else in the team. A team is something bigger than yourself and bad decisions can easily affect other people in the team in a bad way.
It might seem that it is only the students athletes who benefit from having athletic programs. Here at SNC the athletic programs benefit the non-athletes too because it is adding an extra dimension to the college experience. The sport events provides a sense of identity and community, and it adds a family feel among the students. Even more so here at SNC I would argue, since SNC is a small school, the small campus and intimacy creates a great atmosphere on the athletic events and this adds a family feel to the school. Many people from school who is not involved in any sport is supporting the teams on the school. For example, there are volunteers from the who are working on the women’s hockey games, and a friend of mine for example is in charge of the videotaping of our games, by doing that, he gets to experience the amazing atmosphere the division 3 college athletics is providing. Therefore, both student athletes and students who are not involved in any sport, benefit from athletic programs on division 3 schools.