Do athletes get special treatment?
Yes: In many cases, student-athletes receive different treatment than non-athletes. However, it is essential to note these benefits vary depending on the level of the sport. An athlete at a DI school will receive different treatment than an athlete at a DIII school.
Universities often provide additional academic support, and in some cases, that includes study halls, academic advisors dedicated explicitly to athletes, and tutoring. Student-athletes also have access to athletic facilities, training rooms, and sports medicine services non-athletes may not have the same level of access to.
In some cases, student-athletes are given scholarships that cover tuition, and room and board, which can significantly reduce their financial burden. Athletes sometimes get to travel for competitions, which can interrupt their academic schedules. However, colleges will make accommodations for missed classes or assignments, which is unfair to non-athletes who also have other responsibilities,
DIII universities typically take a more balanced approach with their student-athletes, emphasizing the principle that student-athletes are students first.
DIII athletes are often given team uniforms, equipment, and gear as part of their participation in the sport. They are also given access to coaching staff and athletic trainers who provide guidance, support, and expertise in their sport and outside.
While it is important to note that each college varies on the treatment of their student-athletes, it shouldn’t be forgotten that athletes do indeed receive different treatment. Although the benefits previously stated are intended to aid student-athletes in their athletic pursuits, it is essential to recognize they can create disparities within the student body.
No: My roommate is an athlete. There are athletes often hanging out in my room and based on the conversations we have, there is no special treatment in being an athlete on campus. On an average day, I watch my roommate scramble in and out of the dorm room, balancing classes, internship, homework, and her sport. She doesn’t get extended deadlines, so she puts her head down and gets her work done regardless of her day’s schedule. As a result, I barely see her on an average weekday until about 10 p.m., when she socializes for a little and then ultimately goes to sleep.
I do not think there is special treatment in having no free time. Yes, busy days come with the territory of playing a sport. Athletes know what they signed up for. But there are no accommodations to make an athlete’s life easier on campus. No lessened expectations, no slack on assignments. If anything, there’s more pressure on school because of the consequences a failing grade may cause. Imagine the added stress of losing playing time if you do not get a discussion post submitted by 11:59 p.m. Anyone in that situation would reasonably feel overwhelmed rather than respected, which is why I find it hard to believe that there is special treatment in being an athlete.
I think our perception of special treatment comes from the idea that athletes have a “free pass” to do whatever they want on campus with no repercussions. I also think that where we go wrong in that idea is that we do not acknowledge that maybe athletes are just dedicated. We don’t see as many athletes in troublesome situations because they know better than to put themselves there. Any athlete here probably loves their sport, or they wouldn’t endure such a gruesome daily routine. I think athletes would be more careful about their behavior with a sport on the line. Maybe athletes do act out, but they have enough respect for their sport to have limitations and act responsibly.