Today, the term “student-athlete” gets thrown around a bit too loosely; however, I am happy to attend an institution that still upholds these words.
Many collegiate athletic programs are getting caught up in winning at all costs even at the expense of their athletes’ educations, but that isn’t the case here at Concordia. As always, there are exceptions because we definitely have athletes who don’t care about school, but I feel confident in saying that these cases are on an individual basis, not institutionally caused. I believe that the coaching staff and faculty do a great job working together to provide students what they need to succeed both on the field and in the classroom.
To show that this isn’t just another clichéd hand-waving about how academics come before athletics, I’d like to share a couple personal stories that reflect how Concordia truly has its priorities straight. I play baseball here at Concordia and am majoring in both biology and chemistry, and I hope to go to medical school. With a rather rigorous academic schedule full of labs and other commitments, it would be almost impossible to balance these time requirements with a sport at most institutions.
My coaches have accommodated my academics to allow baseball to work for me just as they have for many other students. They schedule my pitching times during practice around when I need to come late due to labs, and they allow me the freedom to go to other events in order to enhance my education.
A great example of this was allowing me to go to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum where one of my biggest heroes Dr. Paul Farmer was scheduled to speak—on the same day I was to make my first collegiate start as a pitcher. I really wanted to take advantage of this special opportunity to hear Dr. Farmer, so I asked my coach Bucky Burgau if it would be okay if I went to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum until the time of my game. Without hesitation, he agreed, and the day was truly one to remember. I was able to listen to an amazing lecture on equity and justice in healthcare, and then made my first collegiate start a couple hours later. I don’t think that I would have been given this great opportunity at other institutions, and I truly am thankful to attend a school that values both education and sports. I’d like to thank Concordia’s athletics and especially my coach Bucky Burgau for upholding the value of a true student-athlete.
This letter to the editor was submitted by Mike Rose, Concordia class of 2014.