Letter to the editor: Student-athletes do not receive unfair advantages

Michelle Browning

On Feb. 8, the Iowa State Daily published an opinion piece by Darrin Cline regarding a perceived “lack of respectability” displayed by Iowa State’s student-athletes. As a student-athlete myself, I found the article to lack insight into our daily lives and therefore lack grounds for justifiable criticism. Athletes at the Division I level practice with intensity and commit an incredible amount of time to representing our university through sports. There are over 475 student-athletes at Iowa State, and we work hard so that we can represent Cyclone Nation to the best of our ability. This letter is a response to a few of Cline’s critiques.

First, I will address the clothing issue. Like Cline, I have noticed that most athletes wear sweats to class regularly, but the criticism comes off as petty and uninformed. Practicing during two or three separate times in the day is not uncommon in the world of college athletics, and 6 a.m. workouts are going on before most students are awake. Sometimes we go to class straight from the cold tubs or show up to a lecture with ice bags on, or we don’t have time to shower. Sweats makes those things a little bit easier and less time consuming for us. Countless numbers of non-athletes wear similarly casual clothing, and I see no reason to attack anyone for their style choices.

In addition, I vehemently disagree with the argument that student-athletes are “granted forgiveness that others would be denied.” It is very unlikely, for example, that a student who is not an athlete would be featured on the front page of the Daily for a DUI, like some athletes have been in the past. I am not justifying these actions, and we are not proud that our fellow athletes have gotten in trouble with the law. However, as Cyclones we are not defined by the mistakes of a few individuals.

I realize that Cline was primarily addressing high-profile men’s sports in his column, but that does not change my response in the least. Overall, members of our football, wrestling and men’s basketball teams are intelligent and determined individuals who feel honored to represent Iowa State with their athletic talents. As student-athletes, we recognize that playing for our school is the opportunity of a lifetime and would love nothing more than to have the support of Cline and the rest of Cyclone Nation behind us.