Are Mason Sports Helpful or Harmful to Students’ Academics?

The+softball+team+cheers+before+a+game.+Depending+on+the+location%2C+softball+players+can+get+home+from+games+as+late+as+11%3A00+pm.+For+senior+Rose+Tombul%2C+this+along+with+her+school+workload+can+make+the+softball+season+stressful%2C+she+said.+%28Photo+by+Rachel+Doornbosch%29
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Are Mason Sports Helpful or Harmful to Students’ Academics?

The softball team cheers before a game. Depending on the location, softball players can get home from games as late as 11:00 pm. For senior Rose Tombul, this along with her school workload can make the softball season stressful, she said. (Photo by Rachel Doornbosch)

The softball team cheers before a game. Depending on the location, softball players can get home from games as late as 11:00 pm. For senior Rose Tombul, this along with her school workload can make the softball season stressful, she said. (Photo by Rachel Doornbosch)

The softball team cheers before a game. Depending on the location, softball players can get home from games as late as 11:00 pm. For senior Rose Tombul, this along with her school workload can make the softball season stressful, she said. (Photo by Rachel Doornbosch)

The softball team cheers before a game. Depending on the location, softball players can get home from games as late as 11:00 pm. For senior Rose Tombul, this along with her school workload can make the softball season stressful, she said. (Photo by Rachel Doornbosch)

Isabel Costa, Staff Reporter

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In the 2018-2019 school year, 68% of the Mason student body participated in a Virginia High School League sport. These students can spend up to two hours practicing after school every day, and on game days, they can spend up to eight hours for their farthest away games.

All student-athletes have to be passing all five of their core classes in order to participate, so it is important that they get all their schoolwork done.

Many Mason students said that it is harder or just as hard to get their homework done during the sports season, but it can help add structure and stop them from procrastinating.

Sophomore Collin Gruenewald, a lacrosse player, said “[Managing schoolwork] is harder. I’m coming home later. But it’s not impossible.” He says his busy schedule helps him organize his time a little better because “you don’t have as much time to waste.”

Junior Gillian Murphy said that during the volleyball season, having less time makes her better at time management. “It’s definitely more work on my part, but it is almost easier,” she said.

Freshman Marshall Davies, a cross country runner, gets home around 7:00 every day and immediately eats dinner. He loses a lot of time to do homework, but this makes him better at structuring his time. It isn’t any easier or harder for him to get his homework done during the season, he said.

Athletic Director Julie Bravin said that she thinks that participating in a Mason sport can help or hurt a student, depending on how the student prioritizes their time. The athletic administrators try to keep up with students’ grades and help students who are falling behind. 

“I’ve reached out to many students in the past to try to help them organize their time,” Coach Bravin said. “We really make a group effort, if it’s helping them meet their teachers after school or the ESR during the day.” 

Senior Rose Tombul, who has participated in Mason softball, swimming, and golf, said “[The Athletic Department] makes an effort. But [the problem] is not necessarily the Athletic Department, in my opinion, it’s the coaches who are like ‘I don’t care if you have homework, we have practice today.’”

The sport season is stressful for Tombul because her coaches haven’t always been understanding of her workload, she said.

Coach Bravin hopes that since many of the coaches are teachers themselves, they may be more understanding of why a student is struggling during their sports season.

“We know that for student-athletes, academics come first and we’re really proud of how our student-athletes manage their time,” she said. “For anyone that is struggling who really wants to do the sport, we can help them manage their time better and make it work.”