“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
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.