No need for a special class for student-athletes

A new University requirement makes incoming freshman athletes take a class that is largely unnecessary.

In the past, freshman athletes attended hour-long Monday night development sessions once each month. They covered topics that affect athletes such as Title IX, sexual harassment and things that help everyone do better in school, such as note-taking. Now freshman athletes have to attend 50-minute morning lectures and discussion sections, each held once per week. GC 1086, a two-credit, A-F class, teaches how to interact with diverse groups of people and outlines expectations, resources and challenges associated with the transition from high school to college.

For most athletes in the class, it is a waste of time. A usual week’s work includes a one-page reflection/reaction paper and required reading from the book “Your College Experience: Strategies for Success.” Granted, although it only takes me half an hour to do the one-page, double-spaced paper, it is time I could spend studying for another class or catching up on missed sleep. We also have quizzes every couple of weeks covering material from the book and what we talked about in lecture.

The book, which costs $40 new, is full of common-sense things I learned from third grade to the beginning of high school. However, quiz questions are very specific and require intimate knowledge of the book. So, one has to take more time to read this book, full of things he or she already knows, to pick out little details and statistics that might be on the quiz.

Still, the class is an easy “A.” Some might think it is a nice way to boost your grade point average and get easy credits, but it is a loss of credits, hours and money that could be used on more productive activities or classes.

There could be some alternatives for this class, which is not beneficial enough to deem it necessary and useful. One would be doing away with it, period. However, since there is a select group of freshman athletes this class might benefit, that might not be the best solution. The one-hour Monday night development sessions run in the past were not a bad idea because they covered some of the same issues but were free and held just once each month. I suggest there be a placement test for this class to decipher between who needs GC 1086 and who already has the basic knowledge and skills taught in the class.

I thought the University was a place of higher learning. GC 1086 is not geared for the educated or those who want to become more educated. Instead, the class follows the trend of focusing on the “lower half,” students, who in most cases do not make education their top priority. Why drag down good students when there could be alternative solutions?

Drew Knoechel is a freshman on the University men’s swimming team. Send comments to [email protected]