Student athletes at Durham College have many resources available to help them succeed and maintain a high enough GPA to participate in sports, according to DC Lords soccer head coach Dave Ashfield. However, balancing practices, games and classes can get tricky.
Trevor Stephens is the goalie of the Durham Lords men’s soccer team and studies Sports Management. He says the Lords practise about four times a week in the evenings with at least one game, maybe even two in a seven day span.
He says balancing the workload isn’t difficult if his time management skills are good.
“It’s not as hard as some people think it is, especially if you give everything you have, I get my homework done before I come to training,” said Stephens.
Student athletes on campus have a variety of resources to help them maintain the right GPA to participate in sports.
On campus, there is the Varsity Room, a study area on the second floor of the Campus Recreation Centre which is only open for athletes to help them study in a quiet area and be comfortable while doing so.
According to the Ontario Colleges Athletics Association (OCAA), student athletes must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and be a full-time student to play on a sports team. A GPA between 1.75 and 2.0 would put them on probation. Students can still play while on probation as long as they meet their academic and attendance objectives of both their program and athletic probation, according to the Code of Conduct in the OCAA rules.
Ashfield says he preaches to his players that school is more important than sports.
“Our staff help our student athletes to do their best and I always tell the players that school is the main priority, they’re not in school just to play sports,” he says.
There is always the challenge of missing class for a sport or vice versa. Students must give their training and game schedule to their professors on the first day of class to give them notice about an absence so they can find a way to maintain success in the classroom.
Ashfield says student athletes have their grades monitored and are given student advisors and/or tutors if necessary.
Ashfield says his first year players are put on attendance cards to ensure they are going to class.
“The biggest transition that they have and that we try to instill in them is that this isn’t high school anymore,” Ashfield says.
Stephens says student athletes with part-time jobs find it a bit more challenging to keep the balance.
“It’s all about time management, but with a part time job, no matter how good you are at juggling things it does get pretty hectic once in a while,” says Stephens.
Balancing academics and athletics is tough, says Ashfield, but with the amount of resources for student athletes, it’s not as difficult as it seems.