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By Camilla Andersson, staff writer

 

“Yes it’s a lot of work,” admitted Antje “Red” Buskies, an HPU student athlete from Germany. “I actually threw up at the first practices, but if it wasn’t for the scholarship I wouldn’t be here.” Buskies plays volleyball for HPU, and the schedule described above is hers. Buskies has a full-time athletic scholarship and works hard to keep it.

Being an athlete is not something done just during practice and games, Buskies explained. It is something one is, all day long. It includes eating healthy, drinking a lot of water, and getting enough rest, all things that all the volleyball players, if not all athletes, have to do.

Practices, homework, exercises, study halls, and game days, all the things that the players have to do is not something you question, Buskies added: “You just do it!”

On game days, for example, Buskies and her team players gather two-and-a-half hours before the game starts to get dressed, do warm-up, exercises, get instructions from the coach, pray, and get pumped up for the game. “We always do things a certain way on game days. We have to,” Buskies said. For example, even though Buskies isn’t religious at all, she always joins the team for a prayer before the game “We all stand feet to feet and hold hands. It connects us as a team. It’s really important,” she added.

The woman’s volleyball team has a staff of 12 people for 16 players. One would think that such an investment would bring extra pressure to play well, but according to Buskies it doesn’t. “I always want to win,” she said. “When you have people that see you and care for you, of course, you want to be good. Nobody wants to lose.”

Their schedule is one reason students with an athletic scholarship can sign up first for classes during registration, according to Jill M. Ward, director of Athletics at HPU. “It’s really time consuming being an athlete,” Ward said. “The athletes can practice up to 20 hours a week during the active season. Add the time spent on games and what they need to do to maintain good academics standards, and that’s hard work!” To get an athletic scholarship a student “must have both good athletic and academic standards and must maintain these during the time they have the scholarship,” said Ward.
It doesn’t end with practices, games, and academics, Ward added. All athletes at HPU have to do volunteer work. During the Hurricane Katrina Release effort, for example, all of HPU’s athletes worked with the Salvation Army.

The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), the body governing most student athletics in the United States, has a whole book of rules about both academic and athletic standards that student athletes must observe. Not all sports at HPU are governed by NCAA, but the University requires that even those sports (soccer and tennis are two examples) require student athletes to follow NCAA rules.

According to the NCAA Web page, “About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are awarded every year nationwide and more than 117,000 students receive either a partial or full athletic scholarship.” It’s up to each individual department to choose who receives a scholarship; according to Ward, “roughly 60 persons have NCAA scholarship at HPU.”

Most of the scholarships that are awarded at HPU are partial scholarships. As Ward explained, the NCAA decides how many scholarships each department gets (the basketball team, for example, has 10 scholarships available), but individual coaches decide how the scholarships are allocated among the players on the team.

Preston Sims, a sophomore at HPU, has a 50 percent soccer scholarship. He agrees that there is a lot of work being an athlete. Sims also explained that if a person does not show up to practices and games. he or she can lose the scholarship. Sims and his teammates turn in midterm reports from all their teachers to their coach, to verify that they are upholding the necessary academic standards to remain on the team.

Sims thinks it’s great to be able to get a scholarship, and the worst thing about it isn’t all the hard work he has to put in to it, he said, but the fact that he could lose it.

 

 

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