Letter to the editor: Support athletes in the classroom as well as on the field

Danielle Stack

In regards to the article titled, “Student-athletes lack respectability,” I just have a few words to add to it. As a student-athlete, I am aware of the commitment it takes to be a student-athlete. Not only are we attending class, but most of us have at least two practices a day. Many do not have time to even run home between school and practice, which is why you see student-athletes in sweatpants in the first place.

All of us are trying to maintain excellence both in the classroom and on the playing field. According to Jamie Pollard, directors of intercollegiate athletics at Iowa State, the athletic GPA is actually higher than the student body as a whole. In 2009 we had the highest Big 12 athlete graduate rate (source: NCAA.org), and we also ranked seventh overall in NCAA student-athlete graduation rates. Our dedication is not only on the playing field but also in the classroom.

As for the incidents in the police blotter, if one compares the general student population to athletes, rarely do you see a student-athlete’s name appear. Yes, there have been incidents, and I am not at all condoning the behavior, but they are very few. In fact, when a slip up does occur, because of the student-athlete title, usually it shows up right on the front page. I believe we are held to a higher standard than the average student, which is something that student-athletes must expect, especially as a division one program.

I also believe that the student-athlete population here at Iowa State does a very good job on representing the university on the playing field but more importantly in the classroom. If sweatpants are a big issue, then one should take the time to consider that at least he or she is making an effort to come to class in the first place. I acknowledge your view on student-athletes, but I would completely disagree with the message it bears. If you really claim to support your Cyclone athletes, then support us in the classroom the same way you support us on the playing field.