Should athletes have due date extensions?

By Sophia Ferlenda and Bess Murad

Staff Writers

The average varsity athlete spends 14 hours a week participating in games and practices. Not to mention the excessive amount of time a student-athlete spends training individually. As student-athletes ourselves, we know how demanding a sport is, and how much time is takes to excel at this activity. Sports eat into time usually devoted to homework and studying, which can leave us on edge. This has created a debate over whether or not student-athletes should be granted an extension for homework due dates.

Many students were opposed to this proposal and have made the case that other students are involved in activities that take up just as much time. Students involved in the Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s selective singing group, SPARK, will spend around four hours a week outside of the regular school day rehearsing. SPARK rehearses twice a week for two hours, regularly, but the rehearsal time increases closer to their shows. However, during the musical, a three-month long activity, students end up spending close to 14 hours a week rehearsing.

All students have access to a 45 minute activity period after school, before sports start. This time period is available so students can get help from teachers, do homework, or attend club meetings. However, athletes claim that their activity period is often cut short because they have to change and get equipment for their practices or games. Student-athletes are also involved in clubs, which sometimes doesn’t give them the chance to utilize activity period for homework. When an athlete gets home from their practice or game, it is around 5:30 p.m. and only then can they begin the three hours of homework that students at J-DHS say that they average a night.

Student-athletes, and nonathletes, both agree and disagree with the idea of extended due dates. Junior Matt O’Connor, doesn't believe that student-athletes should have an extended period of time to complete their homework. As a member of the J-DHS Varsity Boys Tennis team, the Math Team and JED talks, O'Connor said that students who participate in extracurricular activities, especially sports, take on this responsibility for themselves.

English teacher Joe Goldberg, who is also the coach of the J-DHS Girls and Boys Tennis teams, does not believe in the extension of due dates for athletes. He believes playing sports is a privilege and student-athletes should learn to prioritize. “They are student-athletes, not athlete-students,” Mr. Goldberg said.

Senior Patrece Martin, a member of the J-DHS Varsity Girls Indoor and Outdoor Track team, also doesn't think that student athletes should have extensions on homework due dates. “I think that if you're going to do an extracurricular and you can't handle your extracurricular then you drop your extracurricular because you're a student-athlete, (so) school comes first. You’re not a professional,” Martin said. With her busy schedule, having to juggle school work, a job, and being an athlete, she is still able to accomplish her homework on time.

Student counselor Will Hartley does not believe that extending due dates for athletes is a good idea. Hartley played sports throughout high school and college and as a former athlete believes sports is a privilege. “I love sports, but I think it’s one of those things you have to learn how to fit into your life,” Hartley said. If you choose to do sports, then you should be able to manage your time, since he believes managing time is an important life lesson.

Mike O’brien, Spanish teacher and the coach of the JV Boys Football team, does not believe athletes should have an extension on homework due dates, unless it is a special circumstance. O’brien believes that although sports are a great activity, it is a choice and a commitment that athletes choose to participate in. He doesn't believe the extension is necessary during regular season. In his experience in sports, and as a teacher of athletes, he believes that student-athletes know they have to get their work done, because they don’t want to be ineligible. During playoffs for sports, he believes it would be acceptable for athletes to ask for an extension because, “if a player is going to a state-level activity, then it is a new experience and they should enjoy it.”

Though many students disagree, there are some student-athletes who would like to see this change implemented. Sophomore Cindy Henchen, a member of the J-DHS Varsity Girls Swim team, believes that extending the due dates for homework would be beneficial for athletes. Practices and meets take up a lot of time and she says that trying to do all of her homework after is difficult. Sports cause stress, and worrying about finishing homework on time adds excessive pressure, Henchen said. Henchen believes the extended due dates, at least for varsity athletes, would be helpful.

Senior Paddy Hagan, a member of both the Varsity Boys Cross Country and Baseball teams, also thinks an extension for homework would be helpful. Hagan says with sports and school work, he is too busy and never has times to relax. “I never have time to nap, (and) everybody needs to nap,” Hagen said.

Sophomores Jake Brazie and Emma Gibson, members of the J-DHS Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer teams, are also in favor of the idea. They believe that student-athletes cannot give 100 percent in the classroom and on the field with the extreme weight on their shoulders during the season, especially while competing in sectionals. “Teachers should allow student-athletes an extension, at least during playoffs,” Gibson said.

The extensive amount of hours that student-athletes spend with their team, and the amount of schoolwork that piles up, results in stressed students. Students believe the extension of due dates for student-athletes, at least during play-offs, will result in better outcomes on the field and in school. However, other students strongly believe that this is a ridiculous concept. A group of 145 students at J-DHS were surveyed for their opinion on the idea. Out of the 145 students, 88 said they support the extension of due dates for athletes, while 55 students disagree. The controversial debate will continue to exist at J-DHS.