Putting the Student in Student-Athlete

Joe Stark

Although many athletes “aren’t here to play school” as the great Cardale Jones once said, some teams do actually take academics seriously. It is hard to believe since most St. Scholastica athletes do go on to become professionals at their particular sports, but back-up plans are always good ideas.

Good grades are probably not as attractive as winning the race or scoring in front of the home crowd, and why should they be? Doctors, nurses, and lawyers don’t make nearly the amount of money that Tom Brady does. To see what other athletes thought I took to Storm’s Den, where my goal was to find out what other athletes believed to be the best academic team on campus.

The first to catch my attention was six-foot eight-inch junior basketball player Mitch Liebert. When asked which TEAM he thought had the highest GPA, he responded with one single man.

“Dylan Zimmerman,” he said confidently. “Not only because he is dedicated on the court but in the classroom. He wants to be the best in everything he does and gives it his all,” Mitch replied.

I had to remind Mitch that Dylan himself was not a team and did not qualify for the team GPA. Now knowing the rules, Mitch went with either the men’s ski team or the men’s basketball team.

“They both have smaller team sizes and both do a good job at holding each other accountable,” Mitch stated.

The next two people I saw were Taylor Kunkel and Kaliee Katt of the women’s soccer team. They too thought that their team was the smartest of them all. Of course I wanted to know why they thought that.

“Most of us made the Dean’s list and received the UMAC All-Academic award for having good grades,” Taylor gloated.

Finally, I surveyed women’s basketball with Zoe Bystrom being their representative. She stumbled with the question, unsure of who she thought might be the smartest team at Scholastica.

“I don’t know … maybe volleyball,” she said questioning herself. “Both men’s and women’s cross country teams are a bunch of smart people but I don’t know how to say that,” laughed Zoe.

Well Zoe you should have stuck with your first guess because the volleyball team did have the highest average GPA for the fall semester compared to all the other women’s teams. On the men’s side, Mitch got something right when he guessed the men’s ski team as they too were the smartest of the men’s sports for fall semester.

Zoe wasn’t too surprised when I told her she was right saying, “Thanks, I’m smart.”

Even though academics do not seem to matter to some of the division one athletes, it is clear that they do for all of us competing in division three because hey, if we wanted to become professional athletes we all would have just went division one. By choosing division three we choose an education over a life of playing games and travel. At St. Scholastica, we choose a life that includes the love of learning and giving back to the community that makes us who we are.