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Palomar’s athletic department ensures that athletes excel in the classroom

Good grades are extremely important to a successful academic career. Especially when a student gets into junior college. Good grades are what will help ensure a student gets admitted to the school of their choice.

But what about athletes? The perception among many is that certainly, good grades might be nice, but if one is skilled at a sport, then good grades are no longer quite as important. Turns out, that notion could not be more inaccurate.

Sports are one of the most popular and profitable businesses in the world today. Millions, if not billions of dollars of revenue are generated annually by professional sports organizations. One of the corollary effects of the popularity of sports is kids wanting to grow up to be athletes.

The caveat here is, of course, that save for the occasional transition into some kind of sports reporting, or coaching any career as an athlete will be short lived. At least in a relative sense. So to plan a future that does not go beyond one’s tenure on the proverbial field of play could be considered unwise.

This challenge is no different for college athletes getting their education underway at Palomar. Fortunately, your college athletics department is here to help.

In recent times, standards for athletes have been made increasingly more rigorous. With great pressure from the “outside world” 4-year universities have never been more sensitive to criticisms over giving athletes a pass in an academic sense.

For starters, once an athlete enrolls as a student full time, and takes a sport at Palomar, they are held to a strict, fiver semester limit for completing both their academic studies, as well as their athletic training. This may not seem exceptionally difficult for those with the mindset that one’s time at a junior college should be limited to a four semester timetable.

This idea is sort of flawed however. Often times, students in Junior College are trying to discover who they are; what they like and don’t like, and what they are good or not good at. This kind of searching can take some time.

Tons of students enter Palomar with a specific major in mind, only to find out once they arrive that they have a better aptitude for a different subject, or that their heart just wasn’t in their initial major of choice as much as they thought it was.

Athletes, more than being asked, are expected to know that sports is what they want to do as soon as they enter college. Not only are they to not deter from that path, they are also expected to follow it with an almost dogged determination.

This is not to say that this is bad, but rather to add contrast to what an athlete at Palomar goes through versus what a student of just about any other discipline goes through. Contrary to popular belief, great athletes do not have it easier than other students. At least not here.

The point is that the student-athlete has to manage the same kind of academic schedule that any other full time student does, but they have to also participate in all of the required athletic activities as well.

Steve White, Palomar’s athletic counselor, and the man in charge of academic planning for athletes shared his thoughts on the matter.

“You have to deal with so many other factors, in terms of where your time goes,” he said.

He elucidated further on the requirements of student athletes.

“You have to go to meetings, you have to go to workouts, you have to go to study hall, you have to go to meals. If you miss meals, you run,” White said.

This last comment in reference to the reprisal student athletes suffer should the become lax in their duties. But that is part of what makes Palomar a good place for student athletes to begin their collegiate careers: the support system.

“They give you everything you need to really succeed in classes. They make sure you you have your grades right, and make sure you have the right classes,” said Jaron Locke, a student athlete at Palomar, in reference to the support available to the students. “We have grade check every other week here, to make sure we don’t slip on our grades.”

Of course the future of student athletes isn’t the only matter of concern when it comes to their academic performance. There is money on the line as well.

4-year universities receive money for scholarships that require their athletic student body to adhere to certain academic standards. Should the schools become non-compliant thanks to a student athlete not pulling his or her proverbial weight, the school might lose some of that money.

“San Diego State can’t afford to lose four kids to Fresno, but they also can’t afford to lose four scholarships to USC or somebody,” said White about why a 4-year school would care about academic performances among their student athletes.

Palomar College is looking pretty good in this department, as last semester, 75 Palomar athletes were named to the PCAC All-Academic Team. Inclusion on this team requires a student be full time, and carry a GPA of at least 3.0. It seems as if both students, and coaches are pulling more than their share of the weight.

The old axiom cash rules everything around me comes to mind. However for more reasons than simply the decadent amount of money athletics generates. It also has a hand in the quality of life one lives. There are way more athletes who move on to different pastures after the lights on the field go out, than there are those upon whom the spotlight continues to shine.

That’s when those good grades are going to pay their most lucrative dividends. When the former student athlete cum athlete cum civilian is able to parlay their academic success into a way to stay productive.


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