Athletes must be students primarily

To be a student-athlete means, according to a quick Google search, being “a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which the student is enrolled. Student-athletes are full time students and athletes at the same time.”

Players work their entire football career to get to that next level. For high school players, it’s to get to a Division I university, for college players it’s to get to the pros, and even when you make it to the pros, it’s about making it to the mountain top.

All players, at every level, are trying to get to that next level, and these players will do anything to achieve this goal. Players will do everything they need to do to get better on the field. They’ll do extra work.

These players are going to put in the time, blood, sweat and tears to get better, but there’s one thing that’s the most important thing to getting to the next level.

This aspect is getting the grades and going to class.

If you don’t have the grades then, you can’t play.

For Sterling’s Chase Hansen, head football coach, the term “Student Athlete” means something specific.

“I think it is an important term,” he said. “I mean there’s so much emphasis on athletics, and they start to become the main focus. The student part has to come first for coaches and players because how important it is to get a degree, and kids need to realize why they came to school. Athletes only last for so long, and we tell our guys that the degree you earn will last forever.”

Now the main focus indeed should be on the student aspect, and the coaches try to help their players.

Dylan Connolly, head baseball coach, said he helps his players maintain their grades any way he can, especially by stressing why being in class is necessary.

“First and foremost, going to class because that’s the most important thing,” he said. “Because if you don’t go to class, then that shows that you’re not interested. I’ve learned that a kid will communicate with us if they’re sick or not feeling well, but for class won’t do the same. So if you’re not going to class then I can’t help you to begin with.”

When it comes to maintaining grades, head women’s basketball coach K.C. Bassett said it’s important.

“My response would be that they wouldn’t play,” she said. “They’re a student first and basketball is a small piece to that, and they’re going to set themselves up for the future as far as their future profession goes. So class absolutely goes first.”

All these pointers are ones to live by. They are something to strive for in life and to become the best student-athlete there is.

At Sterling we preach about being a warrior and having the heart of a warrior.

Adam Hooker, head men’s basketball coach, said being a warrior means something specific.

“[It means] accepting our roles, recognizing that we are all apart of something greater. Recognizing the 130-year history of this institution and a community that rally behinds it,” he said. “It is really more than a game. The name on the back of the jersey is something to live by. The tradition we live by is something.”

If you want to be an athlete, then you have to be a student first.

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