This story first appeared in the December 2019 edition of the Hilltop.
Stereotypes can cause harm, but what can we do about them unless they are confronted? Last issue, the Hilltop published an article discussing the stereotypes, true or not, that student athletes face as the largest group on campus. This issue, we want to continue the discussion and look at how student athletes and coaches responded to the article.
We began by asking Corbanites for examples and facts that dispute the published stereotypes. Most of the comments emphasized how hard student athletes work.
“They’re superhumans,” said Tobi Adeoye, a sophomore athlete and SGA representative. “Some people are taking sixteen to eighteen credits, are a student athlete and volunteer at church, too.”
“I’ve been an athlete ever since I was a little kid,” stated another student athlete, “so I understand the work it takes to maintain your health, your fitness levels and your stamina. It applies to not only the athletic realm, but also in the work field and at school.”
“Everybody here works so hard,” said senior Riley Smetlzer, the women’s soccer captain. “We have full-time students and full-time athletes, and a lot of people also have part-time jobs. We’re just trying to keep ourselves afloat.”
“We ourselves hold ourselves to a higher standard,” said Jacob Asa, senior on the baseball team. “We try to live up to that as much as possible. If someone bites the dust, we pick them up and bring them on the train.”
Coaches and professors also had much to say about student athletes and their dedication on campus. “All of us are sinners; all of us have faults,” said softball coach, Rachel Martin. “However, when we come together on the field, we push each other and work hard, but our ultimate goal is to glorify God in all of that.”
“All students, not just athletes, come to Corban at various levels of academic, spiritual and personal maturity,” said professor and student athlete advisor, Dr. Bryce Bernard. “I believe that student athletes are often noticed because of the size of their easily identifiable group.”
The Hilltop asked for specific examples that contradict the general stereotypes. Academically, Corban’s athletes have proven to go the extra mile, even through programs like study hall.
“We have close to five hours a week of study hall,” Asa explains. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or transfer. If you have below a 3.0, you’re there the whole year.”
Coaches also work to ensure athletes can achieve their best.
“We have a policy that if they miss class, it’s like missing a practice,” Baseball Coach Derek Legg stated. “Obviously, we have punishment if you miss practice, so there’s punishment if you miss class, as well.”
Bernard cited several relevant statistics to show that such measures work.
“101 of the 190 qualifying student athletes received Academic All Conference Honors,” stated Bernard. “That takes a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher and more than two semesters at Corban. As well, 11 of our 13 teams are honored as NAIA Scholar Teams.” In addition, Bernard, reported that in the Spring of 2019, student athletes had an accumulated GPA of 3.26.
Athletic teams at Corban also emphasize the spiritual side of life.
“A lot of teams have Bible studies,” said Adeoye. “I have classes with many teams, and I know a wide variety of people on campus. I’ve seen people in classes and people from various teams engaged in subjects that have nothing to do with their sport. Especially their ministry classes.”
“We truly value the faith aspect as a coaching staff and communicate the importance of that with our players,” declared Coach Legg. “They all come in at different stages of their faith, but our main goal is to help them become better men, better godly men. So once a week, we have two chaplains come in and point us to the Bible, with the goal to become more like the men in the Bible. Try to prepare them to be husbands, fathers and make a difference in the community after they leave Corban.”
Many Corbanites wanted to talk about stereotypes themselves.
Stereotypes are assumptions about a person or group based on incomplete information. They can be biased, exaggerated or distorted and interfere with our ability to accurately perceive people and events.
“The bubbles are a true stereotype,” said Asa, “but it’s also a blanket stereotype for every school.”
“It’s a tough subject,” said Legg. “I do think that stereotypes come from some form of truth, that’s why we try to avoid it as much as we can. I wouldn’t say that student athletes intentionally try to separate themselves from the student body. I would say people who don’t play sports don’t understand the amount of time that goes into everything.”
“I hope that from this article, healing can happen,” said Martin. “I pray that our community can grow even closer together, without bias, assumptions, exaggerations, or distorted views on one another. I hope we take the time to learn about the heart of one another.”
By: Taylor Preston and Hannah Ames