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Apr 16, 2014

Student Athletes Work Especially Hard to Succeed in Business Courses

Student athletes enrolled in College of Business courses face more of a challenge than most when it comes to balancing time and succeeding in the classroom as well as on their sports teams. Succeeding as both a student and an athlete depends heavily on strong time management skills and dedication to such success.

While it is extremely challenging for student athletes to make time for both class and sports, College of Business professors feel that they are often dedicated to succeeding in class and try their best to coordinate with their professors about when they will need to miss class for games.

Rob Nittolo

“It seems to be a priority that they attend class and do well,” said adjunct instructor James Frazier. “They’re all very good about letting me know when they will be traveling. It seems to be a message from coaches that they need to do well.” 

Frazier currently teaches multiple sections of GBUS 160, Business Decision Making in Modern Society, and MKTG 380, Principles of Marketing, and has multiple student athletes in his classes. In his experience, he has noticed that students tend to be more successful when there is a greater need to balance time between other activities and classes. Frazier also noted the dedication to attending class when the athletes are not traveling with their teams. 

“It’s impressive that, overall, athletes are committed to being in class and it’s noticeable,” said Frazier.

One student athlete in Frazier’s class is freshman football player Robert Nittolo. Frazier noted his dedication to attending class and succeeding in the class.

“It’s a lot of fun but hard at the same time having to go to class, do homework, eat, go to practice and meetings, and then have study hall for our homework,” Nittolo said on his experience thus far as a student athlete.

Frazier has been impressed with the engagement student athletes tend to exhibit in class. He understands the challenge they have to manage time and succeed in multiple aspects of their lives, and he tries to accommodate their schedules as much as possible because he understands the importance of participating in activities outside the classroom, such as sports.

“When they come to class and are interested in learning, then I’m eager to partner up and help support that in any way I can,” said Frazier.

Taylor HaileyAnother challenge student athletes face is in scheduling classes that work with their practice schedules. Junior field hockey player Taylor Bailey has a time window in which she cannot schedule classes, which gets more difficult as she reaches her higher-level courses.

Bailey also experiences a shortage of free time because her coach, like Nittolo’s, requires the players to devote a certain amount of hours per week to studying and completing homework.

“Being a student athlete, you have to have time management skills to be successful in both aspects of your college life,” Bailey said.

Bailey also struggles to find a balance between classes and sports because both are so important to her. She understands that being successful in class is crucial for her future, and she feels that College of Business classes have helped her to develop the skills necessary to balance her time effectively. She appreciates the difficulty of her business courses because she knows it is better to be challenged in class in the long run.

“Having to spend many hours doing homework and studying before and after practice helps give me an awareness of when I have time to do which assignments,” said Bailey. “I plan out how long I think each assignment will take and plan it around my schedule with field hockey.”

The dedication student athletes, such as Nittolo and Bailey, exhibit toward their classes is not overlooked by their professors. Frazier appreciates the effective communication and willingness to work hard to stay on top of their coursework, and notices the same dedication in most JMU students he has taught.

“If they have to leave early, they’re very professional and polite,” said Frazier. “That goes for JMU students as a whole, and I’ve been impressed with that.”

By Alix Carlin (Communication studies, ’14)

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