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Academics Come before Sports
By Rachel Lowe and Marcella
Williams, 11th Grade

Inside the O’Connell Center at a summer basketball camp, a coach was talking strategy with a player. As the player walked away, the coach unrolled sheets that appeared to be game plans, but were instead study plans for the team.

Down the hall, a player was stretching before warm-ups thinking about his first year in high school and the academics he’d be facing. Outside, a father socializes with other parents while thinking about his son’s academic future.

Although many stereotypes surround student athletes, experienced coaches such as Rob Feltner of Ridgeview High School in Orange County, Fla. believe that academics come before sports and time should be allotted to academics. Therefore, his practices are only two hours long and sometimes consist of study sessions.

“As a coach, it’s important that the students keep up their grades so they’re eligible to play and in order to do so, we encourage team tutoring sessions and also teammates to help others in certain academic areas,” Feltner said.

Many coaches set a higher standard for their team than the state requirement of a 2.0 grade point average for student athletes. However, Coach Feltner feels that there shouldn’t be a higher grade standard, since his players’ grades vary. Certain athletes have to work harder than others for their grades and putting a higher standard would be unfair to them.

Even though the season hadn’t begun yet and the team was at a summer basketball camp, Feltner knew it would be a winning season both on and off the court.

Incoming freshman Marcel also believes that academics should come before athletics. He plans on playing at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School to obtain a scholarship for basketball to the University of Florida.

 “Although my future in basketball may not happen, I always have academics to fall back on,” Marcel said.

Many student athletes use sports to get into college, but few actually get scholarships based on athletics. That’s why Marcel believes it’s important to stay focused in school even if you’re an athlete.

Mr. Allen, a parent of a student athlete, believes that pressure from parents also contributes to athletes making good grades. He travelled all the way from Alabama to watch his son participate in the summer camp. He believes that athletics not only offer students opportunities but also helps them focus on their school work.

 “Being well rounded is an important thing when you are in high school,” he said.

What these three people have in common is their love of sports but also their understanding that academics come before sports. Many athletes recognize that while participating in sports can be beneficial, there is a greater need to maintain academics.


Santa Fe College Career Pathways University of Florida Star-Banner St. Petersburg Times

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