The “dumb jock” stereotype has been around for years, but is it actually true? Science has proven that exercise is correlated with mental activity and increases the volume of the hippocampus, frontal, and temporal lobes.
All are regions of the brain that relate to cognitive functioning. Yet, many people believe that student athletes have lower GPAs.
It is a question of whether athletics stress students with their time consumption, or brighten and keep their mind in check. For many upperclassmen that delegate their time with academics, athletics, and their jobs, it can be a lot to handle. On the other hand, athletics keep students minds energized and can even help them in school.
“It is all about time management. In college, my grades were always higher during the semester of baseball season. I think that is due to the fact that I had less free time and realized that I had to manage my time better,” said varsity baseball coach John Fletcher.
According to a study done by Penn State University (PSU), student athletes attended 21 more days of school than non-student athletes. In addition, their GPAs were higher by 0.74. PSU received their information from the Los Angeles Unified School District.
In an article written by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) a university found that if male students exercise for an extra 17 minutes, they’re more likely to have success on English exams.
Another study done by the U.S. Department of Education showed that students who participate in extracurricular activities are three times more likely to have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
“Athletes are held to a higher standard academically. If an athlete is successful in one venue, we expect success in another. The minimum GPA for athletes should not be raised from a 2.0,” said tennis coach Mark Seidenberg.
“Student athletes have a coach and team to work academically for. I think that sports have a positive effect on both academics and behavior in school,” said varsity basketball coach Hunter Thomas.
Because of the time crunch that results from long practice hours, students tend to procrastinate less during their sports season.
“I think sports did help my academic performance. I did not procrastinate a lot during swim season,” said freshman Maddy Spangler.
“For some athletes, being a part of a team does drive them to do better in the classroom because they understand the expectation of their coach and teammates. Often, being part of a team, serving a greater good will also have a strong influence on the character of that young man and their ability to make good decisions both in the classroom and on the weekends,” said Fletcher.
Overall, studies show that sports help students manage their time better, leading to better grades. The “dumb jock” myth, is exactly that, a false idea.