Published: March 8, 2018 By


Athletics are often prioritized over academics, especially for many students who choose to pursue highly competitive sports at the collegiate level. Student athletes may seem like they are living the dream, but balancing a life full of sports and academics can feel overwhelming. 

Aaron Haigler, a sophomore offensive lineman for the University of Colorado football team, often feels as though the candle is burning far too fast at both ends. To say this spring is busy for Haigler would indeed be an understatement, as he attempts to juggle football, track and field, traveling and keeping up with his classes. At the end of the day, reoccurring feelings of worry and exhaustion begin to set in. 

“Sometimes the hardest thing is missing class,” said Haigler. “People think it is so great to miss class, but it is awful, because you are responsible for all of that work when you are not even there.” 

According to a Penn Schoen Berland survey, 54 percent of athletes say they do not have enough time to study for tests, and 80 percent of Pac-12 athletes say they have missed a class for competition during the 2014-15 academic year. Traveling to competitions and spending time preparing to compete take up the small amount of time students have for studying and completing assignments. 

“If they have a big game coming up, a conference match up and it happens to be one of those weeks where they have two or three exams, it just compounds in stress,” said Chris Bader, the Counseling and Sports Psychologist for CU Athletics. Bader works on speaking with student athletes within a few hours of them asking for help. He notes that this quick turn around is key.  

With the feelings of hopelessness that come with a sport and a full load of classes, CU Athletics is known to have some of the best academic coordinators to help student succeed in the classroom and beyond, as many student athletes talk very highly of the help they have received.  

“What we do is really coordinate to make sure that student athletes really have the access they need, but sometimes that is just figuring out how to be most efficient with your time,” said Mindy Sclaro, the Associate Director for Academics at CU. 

Overall, being a student athlete at any university can serve as a challenge, but it is very rewarding when you look over your shoulder to reflect on what has been accomplished.