Penalties for playing

The morning alarm blares as a student athlete peels themself out of their crumpled-paper-filled bed. They reluctantly pack their shin guards, cleats and water bottle, and the brisk air pierces their skin when they step out to their car to drive to school. Losing breath as they lug multiple heavy bags up the school staircase, a gloom dissipates over their head; they forgot their homework on their bed that they once took comfort in.

Varsity student athletes may be involved in many extracurricular activities and hard AP classes, along with taking on leadership roles in their sports. This keeps athletes consistently occupied with time-consuming tasks. Captain of the Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team, Ava Oskui ’23, highlighted her tough experiences in AP Chemistry due to having no due dates. Having no extensions motivated her to become proactive in other aspects at school. Oskui explained that sometimes taking a break from studying is beneficial for her mental health.

“Sometimes with weird turf times, it’s right in the middle of where I would be studying, which is sometimes helpful to give me a break from school work,” Oskui said. “When I am in the middle of a task and have to leave for practice it gets really aggravating and makes me lose track of time. I feel that if more teachers were open to extensions for student-athletes, it would relieve a lot of stress.”

JV Girls’ Soccer Coach, Shannon Sugamele said it’s difficult to have the organization needed to stay on task with multiple obligations. She said she resists giving extensions to student-athletes because she said she feels students will fall behind if she gives extensions.

“(Student-athletes) are responsible for doing those tasks on their own.” Sugamele said, “It’s part of being a student-athlete; you have to utilize your tutorial earlier in the day or do it in your downtime in other classes. I do expect that what comes with the title is the responsibility.”

Despite the stigma around the title, Junior Varsity athletes are held to the same standards as Varsity athletes in academics as well as practice attendance. JV Soccer player Kalie Paige ’26 said she prioritizes her time in tutorial and other classes to ensure no late grade penalty.

“I use my tutorial really wisely,” Paige said. “At the beginning of the year, I was not very good with that. I can get at least half my work done with every tutorial. During away games, I normally get my online stuff done tutorial so I can do my paper stuff on the bus. That’s the best way for me to manage it.”

In the aspect of understanding a busy player, Sugamele said she can relate to her students and prepare them for the real world at the same time. She said she realizes that student-athletes have immense stress due to extensive time crunches, however, this work forces student-athletes to be more proactive than the average student, making them learn valuable time management and communication skills for their work life in the future.“I want to instill good behaviors in my students, but I also try to empathize with them,” Sugamele said.