This philosophical research paper aimed to describe and find out whether being a student-athlete is worth the additional effort. The study analysed and evaluated this by comparing the positive effects and negative effects of student-athleticism. This was achieved by handing out questionnaires that garnered the opinions of current student-athletes and their perceptions and experience of student-athleticism and the impact it has on their lives. This paper supports the stand that being a student-athlete has a big positive impact to the life of the individual.
In almost every school setting there are several groups of people that you can find: the artistic ones, the musically inclined, the girl clique, the academic brain heads, the debate club, the happy go lucky, and student-athletes. One of the most evident groups are the student-athletes who are part of varsity teams of various sports: football, volleyball, swimming, basketball, and many more. These students carry additional weight on their shoulders as they must balance their sport trainings while maintaining a good standing on their academe.
Having to keep up with the expectations of balancing these two responsibilities, student-athletes face several challenges that they have to cope with. Some know how to effectively manage their time while others do not. On the other hand, some focus way too much on their athletics than their academics. So, are all these additional effort in student-athleticism worth it? Does it have larger amount of benefits as compared to the negative ones or stretch? Do student-athletes see it as something beneficial or a burden?
What is Student-Athleticism?
There is quite a similarity in the way researchers define or utilize the term student-athletes. For instance, the study of Robst & Keil (2000), in a quantitative study of the phenomenon in a collegiate setting, defines being an athlete to be a categorical variable which denotes participation in intercollegiate athletics.
While not all related literature makes mention of a definition, the term is utilized in these studies with a near-identical denotation. Related literature often does not make many distinctions between male and female athletes. Some studies, such as that of Fountain (2012), differentiated males and females in the data gathering and analysis. Even in this study, however, no definitive conclusions were made regarding the confounding nature of gender upon the effects of student-athleticism on academic performance.
The same can be said for other demographic factors such as socioeconomic status or race; none of the related studies have shown any definitive proof that these have a confounding impact on the phenomenon’s effect on the second variable. Thus, it would be logical to assume that while some related literature attempts to test gender and other factors as confounding factors due to their tendency to be confounding in other contexts, there hasn’t been enough evidence found to prove such a relation.
To recapitulate, most related studies use the same parameters in defining and using the term “athlete”, and that while gender is sometimes explored as a confounding variable on the relation of the current study’s two main variables, no such relation has been proven by the existing related literature.
What is Academic Performance?
Related studies measure the second variable, which is academic performance, in various ways, making use of different numerical tools to derive results and conclusions. For instance, the study of Grimit (2014), utilizes a 16-item multiple choice survey questionnaire to gather data on the athletes’ academic performance. Another study by Klein (2011) uses an ex post facto research design to assure that the researchers did in no way influence the data gathered. Other studies such as those by Robst & Keil (2000) and Stegall (2012) utilize the student-athletes’ grade point averages (GPAs) and correlate them with those of non-athletes to derive results backed by t-test analyses based on the GPAs of athletes and non-athletes, who are the control group of the said studies.
To recapitulate, various studies make use of different tools to assess the second variable, depending on the purposes of the research and the statistical tools used to assess the data.
Student-Athleticism’s Quantitative Effects on Academic Performance
The related studies (Robst & Keil, 2000; Grimit, 2014; Stegall, 2012; Fountain, 2012; Klein, 2011) overwhelmingly support student-athleticism’s non-negative impact upon the students’ academic performance, which means that the phenomenon either does not affect, or positively affects the second variable. With that being said, it would seem that further research would be unnecessary given the predictability of the results, and while it is true that the quantitative side of the research topic is well-explored, there are certain elements that the related literature currently fails to elaborate upon.
The Qualitative Explanation behind the Quantitative Effects
There is a lack in the depth of related literature, in that they present the actual effects of the phenomenon without delving into what it could be about the phenomenon itself that brings about such effects. In line with this, most related literature on the research topic tends to be quantitative in nature.
There are some, such as the study of Tower (2008), which attempt to take on a qualitative approach, with this one in particular attempting to determine whether or not the subjects attributed any of their academic performance to their athletically-honed competitive motivation.
However, this study fails to highlight the key factor that makes the quantitative results appear counter-intuitive, which is how student-athletes, although presented with a significantly greater workload than regular students, are able to put up consistently higher levels academic performance than their non-athlete counterparts. This is where the researcher derives the research gap to justify the current study.
In recapitulation of the entire review, related literature tends to define and utilize the term athletes similarly, and have tested possible confounding demographic factors, but have found no such effect in the current study’s focused phenomenon. The related studies also tend to gather data on academic performance in a varying array of methods depending on the purposes of the data gathered.
There is also enough quantitative evidence to prove the predictability of student-athletes’ generally higher level of academic performance than that of their non-athletic counterparts, but there is a lack of depth when it comes to explaining the root of such effects, which in turn justifies the need to perform the current study
Student-athleticism is worth the additional effort because the benefits outweigh the negative effects. Here are three premises and supporting claims to back the statement.
1. Student-Athleticism promotes good and healthy lifestyle and proper exercise
– According to Live Strong, “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends all adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity each week, to help stave off chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.” With this, engaging in sports will surely improve physical heath.
2. Student-Athleticism promotes interpersonal skills, discipline, and camaraderie
– As stated by Rick Nauert PhD, “New research suggests physical activity can help adolescent children develop important skills such as leadership and empathy…the present study suggests that fostering leadership skills and empathy in children may reinforce healthy lifestyle behaviours.”
3. Student-Athleticism promotes more efficient time management skills
– Time management skills is something that everyone needs to have, especially student athletes. Being involved in sports requires one to balance their sports and academics. This will result in the student-athlete in being more productive and better in managing his/her time.
4. Student-Athleticism improves the chances of getting scholarships
– According to League Network, “Athletes who perform well may qualify for academic scholarships and be given the opportunity to play sports on the next level before going pro.”
5. Student-Athleticism makes sure that being a student comes first
– Most varsity teams and schools require that students first have a good grade average before being allowed to participate in trainings and competitions. This will ensure that the students give prioritization and importance to their studies as well.
6. Student-Athleticism helps improve focus and grades
– Dr. David Geier stated that “Studies performed among students in multiple states, including Wyoming, Iowa, and Colorado have shown that playing sports can actually increase success in the classroom. Various data demonstrates that athletes have higher grade point averages, higher standardized test scores, better attendance, lower dropout rates, and a better chance of going to college.”
In conclusion, student-athletes are individuals who both commit to their academics and respective sports. In being one, there are several positive effects that make the additional work load worth it. These benefits include physical, mental, and academic positive impacts.
These benefits are having a healthier lifestyle,interpersonal skills,discipline, camaraderie, time management skills, chances of scholarships, students prioritize academics, and improves their grades. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students engage more actively in different sports to improve the success of their lives.