Athlete academics make headway with season end

Mary Whitfill
Staff Writer

With no more home high school football games, the social lives of students are sure to change. Fridays are no longer the set date of a community-wide event at Buddy Echols Field, so will players’ academics be affected too?

The Coppell football team has come out victorious in all but one of its games, with top athletes who have had to put forth a large amount of effort to keep their grades and sports performance in line. Although the regular season is over, playoffs are just beginning. With the entire school looking on, grades aren’t usually the first things on their minds. In the second six weeks grading period however, athletes are discovering that their grades could easily be their downfall.

Although athletes do get perks which come with playing sports, they often lose time needed to study for their classes. This seems like a trivial loss because of their athletic ability, but thanks to the ‘No Pass, No Play’ policy, athletic dreams can disappear without passing grades. This UIL policy is giving athletes another reason to perform at the top of their academic game.

“Sometimes [my grades] go down because of the time cuts, but they also have to be passing so I can play,” sophomore football player Matthew Traywick said.

If a student has a failing six week grade, they get put on the bench. It is the athletic version of crime and punishment, and it encourages most students to step up to the plate with their grades.

“For the most part, students’ grades don’t suffer during the season, but a few times you’ll see one of two students that suffer,” girls basketball coach Jonathan McKinney said.

McKinney coaches primarily freshman sports and is used to the sudden academic pressures for freshmen.

“The transition from middle school to high school is so great that students go into shock and get way too stressed out,” McKinney said.

Athletes are often stereotyped as not being the smartest kids in school, but every day athletes and students try and fight that idea, to show that it is possible to have a great mind and great athletic ability.

“The stereotype of not being smart is an old one,” girls basketball coach Jerry Hoffman said. “It came before ‘No Pass, No Play’. They may not get as much of a chance to study, but as time goes on, that stereotype is changing.”

Practice schedules during regular season take up much of the students’ before or after school time, forcing them to wake up early, or stay at school late. After the season ends, athletes no longer have a time constriction and their grades have a chance to go up once they have more time to focus on what they need.