Every student-athlete has to learn how to balance their academics and athletics, but what happens if they are unable to find that balance and start falling behind in the classroom? 

Photo Illustration by Alyssa Boerenko

Photo Illustration by Alyssa Boerenko

Oftentimes, adversities found in academics closely translate to the work that goes onto the field, court and pool. 

This inability to juggle grades and a sport for an individual can not only affect themself, but also their team. 

Student-athletes juggle a lot with early pre-seasons and extensive regular season accommodations. This pressure to succeed in both areas of performance for an athlete is sometimes hard to overcome. For Keene State College’s women’s basketball team, meeting the academic criteria was a large struggle. 

Sophomore Hien Thach, a guard, said the basketball team has faced numerous setbacks, with injuries and inadequate grades being the primary issues. “This past season was difficult with all the injuries. Basketball season is long and requires a lot of focus, which just end up working for some team members,” Thach said. 

Basketball season starts in early October and ends in early February, meaning the team has almost a five-month season. 

If an athlete is not focused on the priorities, such as academics, then they quickly fall into a bad pattern, Thach said. “We already had a fairly small team and now it’s even smaller. It’s just hard to grow when so many obstacles are put in place,” Thach added. 

The total strain that athletes who choose to not focus on their academics put on their team is significant and can create larger issues as the season goes on, Thach said.   

In order to be able to play sports, a student-athlete must be a full-time student. 

This means they must be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester and registered into a 4-year degree granting program. 

The student must also be accepted through the regular admissions process of the college and be in good academic standing. 

The student-athlete has to have passed 24 credits, which are applicable to a degree (this is achieved in two full-time semesters). 

The other option is that the student-athlete passes an average of 12 credits applicable to a degree (achieved every full-time semester of attendance). Student-athletes have to be passing each class they are taking in order to continue playing. This information can be found on the Athletic Eligibility page on the KSC website. 

Finding that balance can be especially hard when a student-athlete does not have a solid support system that not only encourages them to do well, but pushes them to strive above the bar. 

It’s just as important for coaches to encourage their athletes, men’s basketball coach Ryan Cain said. 

Cain said he communicates with each member of the team during the season and makes it clear that academics need to be a priority for each individual. 

The coach added that if players don’t perform well in their classes, they lower their chances of being able to play during games, which is a huge issue. 

“We have strength in numbers and it is their responsibility as an athlete to put the effort forward,” Cain said. 

No other KSC athletes or coaches responded. 

When KSC athletic teams lose players due to academic issues, it affects the team in numbers, momentum and overall performance. 

This can also affect the individual athlete regarding their athletic eligibility and academic habits.

 Caroline Perry can be contacted at cperry@kscequinox.com

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