Athletics v. Academics

Ryleigh Hayworth, Design Editor

School, sports, sleep, work, and little to no time to just relax. High school is getting busier and busier, and our East athletes keep the balance in many different ways. Often times high school athletes are stereotyped as dumb jocks, but for many here at East, this is far from the truth.

“There’s a reason ‘student’ comes first in the phrase ‘student athlete’,” Fedders said.

Having good grades can benefit athletes in many ways. Athletes seeking college scholarships can get more money depending on their GPA. On the other hand, in Iowa, if an athlete fails a class, they are required to sit out 30 calendar days from their competitive season.

“If students aren’t being students first, they probably don’t need to be involved in extracurricular activities” Fedders said.

Academics often take a backseat to athletics when it comes to judging the character of a school. It is no secret that East is not always represented positively in the media. Having strong athletics brings positive attention to this school, and according to data, sports teams with higher avergage GPAs have higher winning percentages.

“There’s a direct correlation between teams that have a high GPAs and their winning percentages. The higher the GPA the better the winning percentage, the lower the GPA the lower the winning percentage. I don’t know if that holds true everywhere. At East, it’s scary how true that is,” Fedders said.

It might sound far-fetched, but participating in sports can actually help improve grades for some athletes. To practice or compete, athletes cannot have more than two unexcused absences in a day, encouraging them to go to class. With consistent attendance, students can understand material better, improving their grades.

By this point in the year, I’ve learned ‘who cares?’ It’s high school, make it worth it.”

— Alex Liu

“Sports are something for me to get motivated about, it keeps me in shape, and it’s just another reason I should maintain good grades,” swimmer and runner MaryKate Walling said.

All East coaches and activities directors understand the importance of academics, and wouldn’t shy away from letting a student athlete miss part of a practice to make up work. That, along with SRG, have made being a student athlete easier, according to Fedders. SRG has made it where all assignments can be made up later, so student athletes have a little more flexibility in completing assignments.

“Time management is a thing. You gotta get on it, you know. Or don’t, cause that happens sometimes too” swimmer Alex Liu said.
Stereotypes of high school athletes can leave real high school athletes with the false perception that they do not need to work hard to be successful. However, this is untrue. It is easy to find data saying that only 2% of college athletes go pro, but it is much harder to find out what percent of pro athletes went to college.

No matter what activity it is, involvement in extracurriculars can help students in many ways beyond incentive to do well academically. Extracurriculars teach time management, teamwork, loyalty, dedication, among many other valuable skills. The things we get involved in can be the highlights of high school, and give us our most valuable friends.