Being a student athlete is a daunting task.
Because of the rigorous trainings and competitions inside and outside the UAAP, many student athletes have become vulnerable to academic problems.
Student Manager Program
The student managership program, established in 2006, aimed to guide athletes who were beginning to suffer in their academics. Under the program, student managers are tasked to follow up and monitor the performance of their assigned student athlete.
Since then, the number of student managers that started with seven student managers has increased to as much as 23 in 2008. Currently, the Office of Sports Development (OSD) has 15 student managers, 12 of whom are active.
Vice Chancellor for Lasallian Mission and Alumni Relations Br. Bernie Oca FSC shares that a student managers’ main function is to help an athlete in academics.
He adds, “It’s basically academic student managers, but we just call them student managers.”
From the initial duty of student managers to monitor the athletes’ academic performance through intensive coordination with the faculty, the role of student managers has evolved over the years.
Student managers today receive the liberty to suggest courses of action to improve the performance of a student athlete in his or her academics. In addition, student managers have to submit reports to the Academic Services Coordinator and assist the OSD other non-academic matters.
Rationale behind the program
UAAP rules and regulations, effective UAAP Season 70 (A.Y 2007-2008) as approved by the UAAP Board of Trustees at its Annual Board Meeting on May 22, 2007, require a college athlete to pass the required number of subjects in the term preceding the start of competitions for such sporting event to make him eligible to play.
An athelete needs to pass at least three out of either four or five subjects. The University, through OSD, encourages its athletes to enroll in less than or equal to 15 units per trimester to accommodate regular trainings, and to maximize the five-year UAAP eligibility of a student athlete.
The student managership program is in-line with OSD’s Academic Support Program. The program aims to monitor the academic performance of athletes, and provide services like tutorials to reduce the number of ineligible athletes competing in the UAAP games.
Br. Oca FSC explains that the program is unique from the rest in that very few students are willingly offer academic assistance services for student athletes.
“They undergo interviews, and normally, they’re very good in academics and we [with OSD] are the ones who assign them to a particular sport; these volunteers are usually student leaders,” he uttered.
The program only accommodates varsity players to help them balance training with their academics.
The program also benefits student managers. By practice, student managers receive lockers at the Enrique Razon Sports Complex, rights to use weight rooms on the 9th floor of the aforementioned building and UAAP tickets from the OSD.
A former student manager who asked not to be named shares another benefit of the program. He says, “That feeling of being able to contribute to another fellow Lasallian is what makes the program a great one.”
But despite the many benefits, student managers encountered problems with the duties they are assigned to, especially when it comes to coordinating with their professors.
Another manager shares, “Aside from this, coordinating with the people concerned can be really difficult because each requires a different approach. You have to know how to deal with each person to be able to get what you need.”
Some professors on the other hand see that having student managers makes athletes complacent. Consequently, some athletes take their studies for granted, choosing to depend on their managers to ask their professors for possible additional activities to get a passing grade.
Another problem several professors see is that the managers usually attend grade consultations instead of the athletes, even going as far as asking for a change of grade.
“They are called student athletes,” a professor said. “Students first, athletes second.”
An athlete who asked not to be named says, “Athletes need to learn to balance their academics and responsibilities as student athletes. Athletes shouldn’t be dependent on their student managers.”
The athlete also mentioned that there are usually two managers assigned to each team, and that many managers are not active.
Despite the challenge of playing for a team and studying in a University, some have managed to balance both responsibilities.
The aforementioned athlete adds, “I think student managers should be assigned to those who really have a hard time with their academics,” pointing to the decreasing and insufficient number of student managers and a good number of athletes who are performing well in their classes.
Br. Bernie explains, “We want our athletes to succeed in their academics, aside from their sport. There is a tendency for athletes to prioritize their sport because that’s their strong point. Student managers are the ones who help them realize ‘Hey, your academics is really important. You’re here in DLSU because of your sport and academics’.”
A student manager who wished to remain anonymous ends, “Some may argue that student-athletes receive special treatment, that they’re just being spoon fed. However, I think that they should also understand what these student-athletes go through and having a fellow student assist them can be a great help to them.”