Well Rounded
Balance between work, play and academics helps student-athletes
by Courtney Blokland

Student-athletes like these members of the women’ basketball team tend to excel both academically and on the court, though support from advisers helps when it comes to managing their complex schedules.

For many of USD’s student-athletes, life becomes one big juggling act of classes, practices, midterms and games. When it comes to meeting the demands of coaches, professors and friends, dividing your time becomes a challenge. That’s where the USD Torero Academic Support Program comes into play.

With the coaching of Robyn Fortney, coordinator of Student Athlete Services, and Sarabeth Pollock, coordinator of Athletic Academic Support, student-athletes are offered a study hall, tutoring and mentoring programs, as well as the CHAMPS/Life Skills program — all designed to promote academic excellence and enhance the quality of the student-athlete experience.

Junior Amanda Rego, a member of the Torero women’s basketball team, attributes her academic success to the time management skills she learned in the program.

“Although the study hall hours are mandatory, it’s an environment where we’re encouraged to do work,” she says. “And there’s always help available.”

Rego’s one of many taking advantage of the academic services provided by USD’s Academic Support Program. This past May, over 40 student-athletes attended the annual President’s Luncheon for Scholar Athletes, which honored them for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. As the university continues to expand support for student-athletes, this past spring marked the first Torero Networking Night, which brought representatives from 26 companies to the Jenny Craig Pavilion to conduct interviews with graduating senior student-athletes.

Pollock says that USD’s services go beyond just providing tutors for its athletes. “We have one of the bigger academic support programs in the West Coast Conference. We have more athletes, and therefore more services available to them.”