On the Bench: Was it really a day in the life?

On Sunday, the NCAA released a promotional video on their twitter account of the supposed “day in the life” of a college athlete. This post soon went viral for being as what former and current NCAA affiliated athletes claimed as a highly inaccurate representation of the reality of what student-athletes actually experience.

The video is heavily edited and seems to jump from the athlete’s bed to a classroom and other activities seamlessly, but it failed to feature some pretty important realities of student athletes or even college students. Not one frame of the video featured a meal, study time, workouts, tutoring sessions or even more than one class. I am not an athlete and I don’t personally experience this schedule, nor do I claim to know everything about a student-athletes college experience. From the relationships I have made with athletes at NSU, I understand that this video is a far cry from reality which is really disheartening to see from an organization that supports the current and future generations of athletes.

This video might be great for promotional material to recruit student-athletes, but in the long-run, it may cause more harm than good. When you accurately represent what their experience in college will be like, you are putting someone in a position of having expectations that won’t be met. So they might go to college to play but will soon be overwhelmed and just think “wait a minute, this isn’t what I signed up for” and they would be right. This also does a disservice to the athletes who are living with the reality of a student athletic college experience. The video makes it seems so easy and carefree. The student in the video has downtime, studies with friends, seems to get plenty of sleep and just goes on a run to prep for the game. Even on my shorter days, I have a busier schedule and I don’t have prior commitments that many student-athletes adhere to like daily workouts or practices.

This video also re-parked the debate about the pay of student athletes. Some accounts online, namely former NCAA athletes, poked fun at the irony that the actor who played a student athlete in the video is getting paid while actual athletes do much more with less recognition. For me, the ending quote of the video bothered me. The upbeat music in the video goes silent as the athlete lies down in bed to go to sleep as a voiceover says “If you have the talent and dedication to succeed in school and in sports. We’ll provide the opportunity,”

This quote sounds like a great tagline but it really doesn’t encompass the responsibilities that the NCAA has to its athletes in terms of protection, support and opportunities, not just the latter. I understand that the NCAA needs a media campaign to keep interest fresh in the organization, but it seems they dropped the ball on this one, pun intended.

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