MSU providing resources to curb strain on student-athletes

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MSU track & field team practicing at Ralph Young Field.

Brandi Scarber

MSU track and field team practices at Ralph Young Field.

Collegiate student-athletes have schedules that are rigorous and time-consuming. Calculate traveling throughout the year in there and you present another challenge that many students don’t face.

According to Jeremy Thomas, MSU track and field and football academic coordinator, scholarship is a priority for MSU athletic teams and MSU’s Student-Athlete Support Services has things covered, providing more than 75 tutors for all student-athletes. In addition to tutors, the program has learning specialists who provide help at-risk students and students with learning disabilities.

Thomas stresses that other than grit, MSU has other the tools and resources to help athletes be successful.

“We have to always maintain academic integrity, especially when you talk about athletics,” Thomas said.

Between early morning practices and early or mid-week travels, it’s not always easy to maintain a healthy balance as a student-athlete, but Thomas believes that, with the right amount of planning, athletes can be successful.

Learning assistants and academic coordinators guide student-athletes through weekly academic schedules to make sure they are completing assignments on time and staying on track, and submitting travel sheets to keep athletes on top of their academic game.

“Typically if you know what’s coming ahead, you can plan for it and prepare for it, and that’s where some of the guys get in trouble, they don’t plan for everything else,” Thomas said. “So a lot of our job is kind of planning and coordinating those resources to make sure they’re where they need to be.”

MSU track & field team practicing at Ralph Young Field.

Brandi Scarber

MSU track and field team practices at Ralph Young Field.

MSU track and field sprinter Denise Spann said there are some trials to being a
student-athlete — from having practice mid-afternoon while “everyone else can go home and I’m out on the track,” to having class and track meet conflicts.

“You do run into those professors who don’t care if you’re an athlete or not,” Spann said. “Traveling gets tough at times, you have to reschedule exams, remember to check D2L when you’re worried about a meet.”

Recalling a story about her recent internship with The State News, Spann said that her coaches and staff at MSU have been nothing short of supportive of her academic endeavors.

“They’re very supportive here,” Spann said. “I think at the end of the day as long as you can do both — in my case as a journalist and a student-athlete — without it affecting the other then they’re fine.”

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