The Daily Gamecock

Student-athletes work to balance athletics, academics

While time management is a skill many college students learn during their four years, the student-athletes on the South Carolina women's basketball team believe it to be crucial for success both on the court and in the classroom.

The NCAA requires student-athletes to have at least a 2.0 GPA, or a C average, to compete in their sport, but USC's average GPA for athletes is 3.0. To maintain this, the University of South Carolina has the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center to assist student athletes in learning how to manage their time between their studies and their sport. 

Xavier Shannon, assistant director of academics for women’s basketball and track and field, emphasized that the athletes do have to put in the work in order to learn how to manage their time successfully. 

“They attend SI sessions with other students, so we don’t limit them to just being in our academic center. Shannon said. "We always push them to meet with their professors, do study groups with other students and participate in other activities on campus that can help them academically,” 

Doniyah Cliney, red-shirt senior women’s basketball guard and interdisciplinary studies student, learned how to manage her studies with her athletic obligations over time. 

“My freshman year, oh my God, I thought I was going to die ... I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to make it through the semester,” Cliney said. “Now I’m used to it, so it’s like second nature.”

Like many other players, Cliney’s schedule includes weight training in the mornings before class and practice immediately following her classes. She has found that her busy schedule can actually make her life easier. 

“Waking up extra early to go to weights, before class, actually helps me throughout the day. It keeps me energized,” she said. 

Second-year criminology and criminal justice student and women’s basketball forward LaDazhia Williams said that she learned to manage her time around the weekly schedule athletes are given which includes their class times, practices, games and other obligations.

“I think my freshman year coming in, it was a bit stressful, but as I got into it and learned my schedule I became more relaxed with it,” Williams said. “I was able to figure out what I need to do, to get it done at the Dodie for study hall and then just prioritize.”

Shannon stressed the importance of time management in the lives of student-athletes so they can use their time at USC to grow in both respects. 

“The biggest thing we always preach is time management,” Shannon said. “And we have a lot of support from the coaches. Our coaches understand the time constraints that being a student athlete puts on you.”

Shannon said the Dodie is focused on ensuring that student athletes are able to meet all their graduation requirements, not just the NCAA minimums. 

“Our thing is not worrying about meeting the minimum requirements, our thing is always graduation,” Shannon said. “We always work for graduation, so everything we do and encompass in our jobs is helping the students achieve their personal goals and graduating.”


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