Student-athletes should receive work extensions, and optional gym class

For all of the work that we do, on and off the field, student-athletes should be accommodated.


Andrew Shinkle/

As a result of additional commitments to their health and their school, student athletes deserve extra time to complete assignments.

  There’s nothing quite like a two hour bus ride through the Pine Barrens on a Thursday night. With my body sore and aching from the blazing last lap of the mile, I collapse into the stiff, uncomfortable three-seater. Thankfully, there’s nothing left to accomplish tonight, as I left all of my energy out on the track.

  Then, I remember.

  Twenty precalculus word problems are waiting at my bedroom desk, due at 11:00 P.M. And it’s already 7:29, with at least half an hour left until we return to Eastern. The post-race bliss evaporates, and I stare out into the shadowy forest.

  Student-athletes’ lives are extremely demanding, in more ways than one. I know firsthand, as I’ve been one for the entirety of high school.

  After six hours of school every weekday, we head off to practices and competitions for several more hours. Once we finally reach home, there’s no rest, relaxation, or family time—only homework. Until it’s time to turn in for the night, essays and worksheets and projects and books are the only things on our minds.

  This is an unfortunate reality for millions of students across the nation, with myself included. After representing our schools in competition and putting everything on the line to improve ourselves and our peers, we’re rewarded with a fractured, incomplete home life.

  To better accommodate student-athletes in their journeys to navigate their academic and athletic careers, I’m proposing that we receive homework extensions and the right to make gym class optional.

  Having more time to complete our assignments would be a massive benefit. 

  After finishing competitions, athletes shouldn’t have to be worried about sacrificing their health to meet arbitrary deadlines. Our first and foremost objective should be ensuring our physical and mental well-beings. Sitting to complete homework for multiple hours, without first completing conditioning exercises such as icing and stretching, is detrimental to us.

   In addition, this extra time will allow us to perform both of our jobs at a higher level. Without the stress of due dates, we can lock in and focus on our sports, and vice versa.

  You may be wondering: “How much more time are you thinking?” For general practice days, deadlines should be extended by an hour or two. This accounts for the lost time that non-athletes are able to spend completing the same  assignments.

  On competition days, we should receive an extension until 2:00 P.M, allowing us to focus on the next day’s schoolwork. While it may not seem like that much of an extension, this segues into the second half of my proposal.

  For student-athletes, gym class is exceedingly unnecessary. Schools require it in order to keep all students physically fit, but we’ve literally run laps around the bare minimum. Instead of receiving health benefits, we’re probably more likely to sustain a debilitating injury.

  A varsity basketball player doesn’t give a single thought to the sixty points they scored in their gym class scrimmage. Imagine the fallout that would ensue if they sprained or broke a bone in the process.

  In the place of regular gym class, student-athletes should have an acting study hall, where we can catch up even further on assignments. No additional chaperone or classroom would be required; students would be in the rest of the class’ vicinity, safely in the sight of the gym teacher.

  Of course, study halls don’t have the best reputation for housing productive students. To make sure that everyone’s on task, students would submit a screenshot of the work that they completed at the end of class. Between the deadline extensions and the added study hall, athletes would be on a level playing field with the other students.

  It’s not fair that some students are penalized because they have additional dedications to their bodies and their school. For all of the work that we do, on and off the field, student-athletes should be accommodated.