"Athletes get into any school if they are good enough at their sport."
"They could just fail out of school and it would not matter at all."
Let me just start here: where everyone thinks they know exactly what they're talking about when in reality they are so far from correct.
As a collegiate athlete, especially at the Division I level, you are expected to be the best of the best, not only in your sport but also in the classroom. But in actuality, it does not matter how good you are if you do not have the grades to back you up.
We are STUDENT athletes.
No matter how much we jokingly say otherwise, school will always come first.
As an athlete, you are representing the entire school in every race, game or match, and you must wear your school's name with pride and respect. A collegiate athlete is expected to be a well-rounded student who happens to have a special talent in their particular sport.
A Division I athlete is not much different than Division II or III, except the aspect of training and maybe a little more success in high school.
Coming from a very successful and prestigious rowing team in high school, I always knew I wanted to be Division I because I was always taught to work to be the best at whatever I encounter in my life.
The 20 (or more) hours of practice a week, plus school, plus visits to Sports Med to fix any nagging pains, plus just being a college student in general, seems to take up more hours of the day then there even are to offer, but somehow we all get it done.
Somehow, at the end of the day, we are able to sit back and reflect on how lucky we are to attend the amazing school we are at and to play the sports we love so much and be truly grateful.
I think I can speak for all athletes when saying that the most rewarding feeling is when you know you are getting better. When you know you made that positive change in the right direction, that will, in turn, help you become a better athlete.
I just wanted to clear the air on the fact that student-athletes are students first, but we also are athletes who work to our fullest potential and even more because it is who we are, and our minds are and will always be set on being the best of the best.
We will stop at nothing to keep fighting for that to happen.