Friday, Feb 15 2013 02:30 PM

The Roadrunner Connection: The life of a student-athlete

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Corey Costelloe

Javonte Maynor sits at one table, finishing up his latest biology assignment, seniors Tyrone White and Stephon Carter are across the room accessing CSUB’s campus server and uploading their latest completed assignments; this would be a normal scene on a college campus, but these guys are in a hotel banquet hall, just hours before playing a road basketball game 1700 miles away from Bakersfield.

This is the life of a student-athlete. While the emphasis on ‘student’ is a priority for most all intercollegiate athletics departments in the nation, executing that principle is sometimes easier said than done.

Take Carter for example, as he closes in on finishing the coursework for his degree in liberal studies, he’s using the few minutes on the bus between McAllen, Tex., and pregame shoot around in Edingburg, Tex. to finish his latest assignments online. While the game at Texas-Pan American tips at 7 p.m., here at noon he’s still trying to take care of his ‘student’ responsibilities before getting in a pre-game shoot with his teammates.

Technology has definitely made the traveling life of a student-athlete a little easier. Thanks to CSUB’s commitment to using online resources, athletes are able to stay up on assignments and coursework while in a different state. Many no longer have to get assignments in advance and can keep up when new things are posted to class websites and online portals. But without instructors or the resources to travel academic tutors like many better-funded programs, CSUB’s student-athletes make the best of what’s available.

In this latest road trip, CSUB men’s basketball had to miss an entire week of class in order to play games in San Antonio, Tex. on Tuesday and at future WAC foe UT Pan American on Thursday night. That meant plane travel on Monday and Friday, ultimately wiping out a week’s worth of class time.

That however didn’t mean the student-athletes were off the hook. Between meals and practices, travel and film sessions, regular study halls were held. Whether it was a hotel banquet room or a hotel lobby, assignments were finished, phone calls were made to academic advisors and assistant coaches filled in the role of tutors when questions were asked.

While NCAA Division I student-athletes at CSUB are recruited for their athletic abilities, they’re also required to have a certain self-discipline that requires them to finish assignments on their own, be a self-motivator when it comes time to decide between finishing homework or catching a nap on the road.

Anything worth achieving in life requires work, so when these student-athletes finish their degree’s at CSU Bakersfield, they’ll know their work required a little something extra, and that some of their greatest academic moments weren’t spent in a lecture hall, but in a hotel banquet room thousands of miles from home.

COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for California State University Bakersfield

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