“A winning standard” is a phrase frequently thrown around App State Athletics. This past week, the men’s soccer team showed that standard goes beyond the field, as it was recognized by the United Soccer Coaches for academic excellence. To receive the award, all players must have a 3.0 GPA or greater, and it’s the third time the program has received the recognition since head coach Jason O’Keefe arrived in 2016.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: Most athletes will “go pro “in something other than sports. Take football, for example. There are over 250 Division I college football teams, and some have over 100 players. But, there are only 32 NFL teams that roster only 53 active players during the regular season. Those odds aren’t great for becoming an NFL star.
Sometimes, athletes have a stigma that they’re meathead jocks who are given passes all the way down the line just because they play sports. And, in some cases, that’s true. But, in most cases, athletes are working just as hard in the classroom as the average student. Athletes often struggle to maintain good grades with a limited amount of time to spend on homework. And, the ones who don’t, certainly should be, because the numbers show they’ll probably be joining the workforce.
Men’s soccer and other programs’ commitment to academic excellence should be commended just as highly as their success on the field. Those wins are just as difficult to come by and more important to achieve.