Athlete priority registration necessary

As a member of the Mercyhurst women’s basketball team, I feel inclined to write a rebuttal piece to the article about priority scheduling for athletes printed Oct. 25.

First, the image printed on the front of the Merciad was an unfair depiction of the situation. The graphic made athletes appear to be pushing other students out of classes as if we are the ‘alpha males’ on campus.

In order to report a news story, it must remain unbiased and the image was anything but. For many students, this was the first they had heard of priority scheduling for athletes and that was the image they were presented with.

Mercyhurst athletes are far from stereotypes that have long lived before us; dumb jocks and athletes getting “privileges” are a thing of the past.

Last year, 284 athletes (that’s more than half of all athletes at Mercyhurst) were scholar-athletes, having a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Of those students, 125 athletes earned a 3.5 or better and 57 had a 3.75 or higher. There were 195 athletes recognized by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) as a scholar-athlete, having a 3.3 or higher GPA.
I am proud to say I am a member of a team who earned a 3.337 overall GPA for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Many non-athlete students felt wrongly blindsided by the change in scheduling that went into effect this past winter term.

The lack of information presented ahead of time had nothing to do with the athletic department or the athletes.

Priority scheduling is such a benefit to athletes in their championship season, much more than what was presented in the article.

Myself and the other 80 winter athletes were able to successfully schedule for the first time in Mercyhurst history.
Only athletes in their game season will be able to register early.

Therefore, not every student athlete on campus gets to register early each term.

I am one of 15 other females on the basketball team trying to register during our championship season, which takes place during winter.

I am not only responsible for lining up my classes with my own personal schedule, but I also have to ensure two hours per day are available to be spent in the gym for practice.

These two hours have to coordinate with others outside of our team. Additionally, this two-hour time slot cannot overlap with the 14 members of the men’s basketball team.

Only having one main court to practice on means 28 different students have to schedule times to coincide and not overlap.

Because of priority scheduling this past term, my teammates and I were able to schedule the majority of our classes earlier in the day, which ensured a unified practice time.

Beyond practice, we play 26 games throughout the winter. Forty-six percent of our schedule is on the road.
Priority scheduling has allowed us to schedule classes away from prime travel times meaning we miss less class.

Many students were upset with priority scheduling for athletes, especially those who are dual majors. These dual major students have an understandable point. However, when we register, we have many more than two majors to schedule around.

On my team alone we have majors in the biochemistry, education, criminal justice, graphic design, math, forensic science, intelligence studies, exercise science, business, communication and psychology fields.

Not to mention minors in Spanish, photography, criminalistics, marketing and English. My team only has 15 members. Other teams, like the women’s lacrosse team, have 30 members.

I understand why non-athlete students could get frustrated at the initial mention of athletes getting priority scheduling; however, priority scheduling allows us to flow smoothly in school.

In the past, we have had a time slotted for practice and then registration takes place and we have to change it because players did not get into classes they planned on. This forces us to reschedule our time and the men’s time.

My freshman year we had no way around it, and two days a week women would have to miss parts of practice because they had class and it overlapped with practice.

This disrupts both academics and athletics. Players were missing parts of practice and rushing to leave class, which makes for a less than ideal environment in the classroom.

Being able to register first for the first season in three years was stress-free and much less hectic than in other years.

Missing less class this term has allowed us to be more alert and vigilant during classes because we have not missed as much material.

Priority scheduling has been beneficial to all 90 athletes in this inaugural term.

We are all very grateful this change finally happened, and I speak for the entire athletic department when I say we will fight to keep it.