Holst: The real struggles of student-athletes

Josh Holst

It’s no secret that being a student-athlete is tough. Nobody knows this better than UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, who recently sparked controversy in a Bleacher Report interview.

Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs,” Rosen said while discussing the struggles of juggling school and football.

He also went on to explain that there are players that have “no business” in college because they have no real interest in getting a college education – they’re just there to play ball.

He goes on to say that some universities seem more interested in making sure their football players are academically eligible to play rather than making sure that they have a decent education to fall back on. It is important to remember that these players are unlikely to go pro, and must rely on their education for jobs in the future.

Critics have labeled Rosen as a lazy, entitled millennial who doesn’t appreciate his free education at one of America’s top universities. But they are ignoring the very real flaws in the NCAA system.

Colleges frequently have issues with academic fraud involving their student-athletes. As reported by Sports Illustrated, in 2015, 20 schools were under investigation for academic fraud. Accusations range from professors helping athletes cheat on exams to schools making sure athletes take classes that they will get A’s in. It seems like schools feel the need to do this because they don’t do enough within the rules to ensure these athletes can and will succeed academically.

Rosen is also not wrong when he says participating in school and football is like having two full-time jobs. According to a 2006 NCAA survey, Football Bowl Subdivision players spend about 45 hours per week on their sport. That is roughly the same time commitment as a full time job, except most full-time jobs don’t involve high risk of physical injury and brain damage. Many college students don’t even have time to work a part time job because of their school responsibilities, let alone a commitment similar to a full-time job.

Rosen isn’t wrong when he says it’s almost impossible to be a good student and athlete. The NCAA system is exploitative and robs students of a chance to get a genuine education. It’s something everyone should keep in mind while enjoying their Saturdays saturated with college football.