More than a Game: The Why and the How of Student Athletics as an Academic Intervention
By Stephen Minix
While athletics may often be viewed as only relevant when citing the final score of the game in the newspaper, or as a point of contention in annual budget allocations, athletics can — and should — play a key role in student development inside the classroom.
When looking at the academic performance of student-athletes, it becomes very difficult to overlook the relationship with increased academic performance, school-day attendance, and graduation rates.
Student-athlete eligibility is a year-round issue.
If you’re waiting until the start of the season to address it you’re too late. Offseason academic support targeted to keep athletes eligible year round to create a larger pool of eligible athletes is key. ‘Finish line’ mentality is a death-sentence for athlete eligibility.
Coaches design precise practice plans for the season replete with minute-by-minute scheduling of conditioning, defensive schemes, offensive sets, etc. One common mistake is that academic support is often not focused on during the season (or during the offseason for that matter). There is an assumption that the student will make the necessary accommodations to remain 'eligible.'
"You must consistently focus on academic interventions as much as you focus on 2–2–1 traps or press-breakers."
At minimum set the expectation that your athletes must check-in with the coaching staff on the academics during the offseason.
Set the tone — Day One, depending on your sport, consider putting student desks on the court (safely, of course), or in the field.
Brand your athletic intervention with team logos, colors, etc., so it’s a part of the fabric of athletics at your school site.
Story by Stephen Minix. Originally published to the UpMetrics blog, Data for Good, on Medium.