Do College Athletes Have Time to Be Students?

Last Updated Feb 18, 2011 10:56 AM EST

Do college athletes have enough time to devote to their classes?
Many of them don't. At least that's the conclusion that you could easily reach after reading a NCAA survey on college athletes.

Athletes in some sports are spending more time in uniform than they are attending classes and studying. According to the survey, the most demanding sport is Division I and II baseball, which has the longest season of any collegiate sport. Division I baseball players devote 42.1 hours a week to the sport during their season, which is 10.4 hours more than they spend on academics.

Division I basketball and football players also spend more time on their sports than they do on their school work.

Clearly collegiate sports is a full-time or nearly full-time job for many athletes during their seasons. Here is a run down of how much time athletes are spending on various sports each week in season:

Division I Men

Sport Athletic hours
  • Baseball 42.1
  • Basketball 39.2
  • Football (FBS) 43.3
  • Football (FCS) 41.6
  • Other sports 32.0

Division II Men

  • Baseball 39.0
  • Basketball 37.7
  • Football 37.5
  • Other sports 31.3

Division III Men

  • Baseball 34.8
  • Basketball 30.8
  • Football 33.1
  • Other sports 29.2

Division I Women

Sport Athletic hours
  • Basketball 37.6
  • Other sports 33.3

Division II Women

  • Basketball 34.2
  • Other sports 31.7

Division III Women

  • Basketball 29.8
  • Other sports 28.9

Enough is Enough

A sizable number of athletes would rather not burn up so many hours in the gym or the sports field. Twenty nine percent of women basketball players in Division I, for instance, wished they could spend less time on the court. More than a quarter of women athletes in all the other Division I sports also expressed a desire to cut their athletic hours.

Among Division I men, FBS football players (23%) were the most likely to wish they could get a break from their sports.

Strangely enough, the vast majority of male baseball players and basketball players don't seem unhappy with the long hours. Only 18% of Division I baseball players and 10% of Division II baseball players wish they didn't have to spend so much time on the diamond.

Athletes in Division III, which are generally smaller private schools, expressed the most satisfaction with their athletic load.

Bottom Line: If you really want your child to win an athletic scholarship, maybe you should rethink this dream. Do you want your son or daughter to be a college student or an employee of the athletic department?

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
College athletes image by ohad. CC 2.0.

More on CBS MoneyWatch:

6 Ways to Win an Athletic Scholarship
Playing for a Scholarship

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