By Alejandra Rojas
Staff reporter

Not only do they have to study sports plays, but they have to study for biology, English and responsibilities for the future.  Between practice and school, it’s a wonder how a student-athlete manages to excel on the field and in the classroom.

Coaches demand most of the team’s time with practices and watching game film. Coaches also play a huge part in the student-athlete’s education. The coaches make sure that their athletes also excel in the classroom by conducting study hall sessions.

“We want to build structure, so students must realize they are here to get a higher education,” said T.J. Harris, assistant track and field coach.

Study hall is a way for student- athletes to come together during designated times and complete homework that might be put off due to sports practices and competition.

“This is the one night a week, they can get together with no distractions such as cell phones and Facebook,” said Jason VenJohn, assistant women’s basketball coach. VenJohn said the study hall environment helps players get their work done quickly.

“You have to be disciplined. It takes someone to push you in the right direction,” said Harris. “I want to provide them with that.”

With all the pressures of performing up to par and maintaining a good GPA, student- athletes are thankful that their coaches are putting in the effort to give them a hand, said Stuart Ballard, business administration junior, who plays basketball. He said, “I think it’s a good thing. It helps with managing your time.”

Student-athletes find that study hall can benefit them in many different ways. They are being exposed to a quiet environment where it is easy to maintain focus and get help from each other.

Melissa Borthwick biology senior, plays basketball. She said, “It also lets you get some help from fellow teammates who might have already been through that class.”


Some coaches don’t require study hall because they put the responsibility on their athletes to get the work done. Jim Helmer, head cross country coach, said he thinks that his athletes rarely struggle with overload. “It must go with the territory. Most distant runners are good students,” said Helmer.

However, more coaches are making sure that study hall is included with their program. “Study hall is a part of our basketball program, just like weights, conditioning and practice,” said Matt O’Brien, head men’s basketball coach.

O’Brien said he wants his players to understand that coaches have a responsibility to make the men’s basketball program an exciting one but also provide a strong academic performance.

“Our coaching staff works hard to ensure that each player reaches their full potential at Southwestern, not only as basketball players, but as young men,” said O’Brien.

Alejandra Rojas is a junior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at