Aug. 23, 2005
This summer as I had opportunity to watch the construction on the West Zone – it brought to mind, a pet peeve, about what I believe to be, generally, an unintentional disservice toward student-athletes that college athletics promotes through year-round training regimens. In times past, there was not year round training for student-athletes. That didn’t mean that past student-athletes didn’t work and train hard – keep in mind, that at one time there was no 20-hour restriction on practice. Yet, classes, studying, etc. were the same as we find them today. So, even without year-long training there was very significant rigor and effort, particularly, without a 20-hour practice limit during the school year.
However, during summers of past, student-athletes were able to return home for 6-8 weeks. During that time, most would find work, save their money, and return to school for August practice. As I watched the West Zone workers, and in particular the steelworkers, my mind drifted back to a summer that I worked on the Arkansas River Project, working as a steelworker, on the Lock below Dewitt, Arkansas. On site at 7:00 a.m., 95+ degree heat/high humidity – generally off work around four, unless overtime was required. After work, like most young people, we’d find ways to enjoy ourselves. Nevertheless, whether you were in bed at 9:00 p.m. or beyond midnight, you still were on site at 7:00 a.m. – and, no one cared whether you played football or not – you’d better be there. That is, if you wanted a job and get paid. And, if you were going to make it through most of the year, you had to rely upon what you made in those 6-8 weeks of summer and, you still had to find time to do the voluntary workouts to be in condition ready to play in August.
However, through year-round training, I do believe college athletics have rendered a disservice to our student-athletes by taking away, in most part, work related responsibilities. The lessons learned in learning how to find and hold a job, saving money, and overall responsibility are lessons that can only be learned by being in the workforce. By taking young people out of workplace experiences through year-round training, we take away opportunity to learn life-long lessons.
However, I don’t have an answer to this issue. I’m just expressing an opinion without a viable solution. I recognize that if we don’t follow the existing practices found in college athletics – then our team would be significantly disadvantaged. Unfortunately, in the long term, it is our young people who are disadvantaged.
Terry Don Phillips
Past ColumnsAugust 4, 2005July 26, 2005June 28, 2005May 23, 2005April 25, 2005April 4, 2005March 16, 2005February 23, 2005February 15, 2005February 9, 2005February 1, 2005January 25, 2005January 18, 2005January 11, 2005January 6, 2005December 15, 2004December 7, 2004November 30, 2004November 17, 2004November 10, 2004November 3, 2004October 26, 2004October 21, 2004October 11, 2004October 4, 2004
March 25, 2023