California Baptist University’s Athletic Program achieves remarkable success, however with that success, athletes face the challenge of balancing schoolwork and their sport while continuously traveling all over the country. Somehow the Lancers manage to get their work done in both departments.
The Lancers are currently in the second year of the transitional period into the NCAA Division II Conference and with this new environment of competition, the teams have to travel to greater lengths and distances to test their athletic abilities for the NCAA Sports Association.
During season, CBU sports teams are traveling all over the country to compete in conference matches and tournaments for extended periods of time.
Throughout the month of February, the men’s volleyball team will be competing along the East Coast for 12 days and at Brigham Young University in Hawaii for six days. The team will be on the road for a total of 20 days for the month of February alone.
“There is not a whole lot of time to do my school work. My professors are very understanding though and I have talked to them ahead of time,” sophomore setter Connor Metcalfe said. “Most of my homework will be easy and available to be turned in online.”
Being a student-athlete may be bitter-sweet and have its challenges but none that Metcalfe can’t handle.
Along with missing school, student-athletes miss out on time to spend with family, roommates and friends. Luckily for Metcalfe, his roommate sophomore outside hitter Michael Cate is also on the volleyball team.
While the team is traveling through states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Metcalfe expresses how he may feel a little homesick. However, he plans to phone call home to his family regularly and Skype video chat with girlfriend and fellow Lancer, Jordyn Siko as he is gone for these extended trips.
Balancing academics and athletics does not come easily and requires a great amount of responsibility.
Women’s Water Polo team member freshman driver Raine Paul believes dedication and time management are the most important parts of being a student-athlete. She shared how common it is for athletes to miss class but professors are extremely accommodating, giving athletes lots of room to get school work done.
“A student-athlete needs to be dedicated because of the heavy practice and travel requirements and organized to stay on top of school work. I sometimes need to sacrifice social activities in order to get everything done,” Paul said.
CBU professors understand the amount of commitment it takes for a student-athlete to balance academics and the sport they play. Although student-athletes miss a large number of class time, Tracee Auville-Parks, adjunct instructor of english, goes the extra mile to make sure every student receives the quality education they pay for.
“I try hard to accommodate student athletes and understand the level of commitment required in order to achieve success on both fronts,” Auville-Parks said. “I allow students extra time to complete work if they ask for it before the missed class. I accept work electronically. If asked, I will spend office time to tutor a student.”
Auville-Parks has also used social media to assist students by being available and approachable so that each of her students feel like they have a support system – athlete or not.
These student-athletes get the experience of seeing different parts of the country and bond with their teammates. Regardless of not being able to attend school, athletic trips give the players a chance to share a common goal of competition as well as fun.
For Paul, the positive side to being a student-athlete is being able to receive a quality education while playing the sport she loves. It also does not hurt to meet new people along the way.