This story first appeared in the October 2019 edition of the Hilltop.
Student athletes on Corban’s campus take up over a third of the population. The Corban Athletic Department’s universal motto says the university is committed “to fielding teams of Christian student athletes who represent Christ and the University at a top level of competition.”
But how do these athletes represent themselves outside of their sport?
We spoke with several Corban staff members about their perceptions of the Warrior athletes on campus. None of the staff members we spoke with will be named, and a wide variety of opinions will be shown.
Some of the responses received were negative, about their behavior around campus.
“I’m hearing rumors of athletes threatening to break into Aramark,” said a staffer. “And not just jokingly; we’ve had jokes before. We have had to be extra careful with our locking up procedures.”
Other responses were just as negative about athletes in the classrooms.
Some student athletes struggle “to manage time well and proactively communicate in a timely manner with professors,” said a Corban employee. “At this point, athletes tend to ask for grace, but what they really want is mercy.”
Some staff members were simply realistic about the expectations placed on student athletes.
“For athletes, practice and travel eat up many of the week’s hours that otherwise would be spent studying, preparing presentations, writing speeches, working on projects, and a dozen other things required of students,” another staff member said. “If an athlete gets behind, it’s very hard to catch up. I’d also say, based on conversations I’ve had with some freshman and transfer athletes, not all have been prepared for the academic rigor they experience here.”
Many of the responses received from staff members were positive, reflecting on what Corban can learn from these students.
“I think our athletes teach us about resilience and hard work,” said a staff member. “I can imagine that it is challenging to be the face of Corban, representing the school to others during matches and games. I believe this requires strong character, which athletes can model to those outside of Corban as well as to the rest of the campus.”
A couple responses also praised athletes for their diligence.
“The students tend to be proactive and not make excuses,” stated one staff member. “They do not ‘win’ in the classroom every time, but they tend to put in their best effort.”
A staff member said, “I love that some of our coaches encourage student athletes to sit in the front row, ask questions about assignments, and be more engaged in classroom activities.”
Some people responded about athlete’s spirituality.
“I have also heard that student athletes are not as interested in spiritual things, which is totally bogus,” said another Corban staffer. “I have a number of student-athletes committing to measuring their spiritual growth because of their interest in growing in Christ.”
“Student athletes are often my favorite students in class because many have not had traditional Bible classes, due to largely public-school exposure or heavy sports commitments taking them away from youth group activities,” says Corban staff member. “I find most of them are really open to discovering the Bible and its meaning in my class. I love classes with a heavy concentration of athletes.”
But the divide between athletes and non-athletes remains visible to some staff. “I just hate the divide between athletes and non-athletes,” mentioned one employee. “I think it’s really sad and that more people should be working on it.” What do you think? Are you an athlete with your own perspective on this issue? Are you a student who has something else to say? We want to know. Email us at HilltopNews@corban.edu