Priority Registration Not Merited For Our Athletes

An unsubstantiated petition has been circulating among student athletes regarding priority registration for classes, and SGA has expressed interest in seeing this to fruition. Being a full-time student and an athlete is undoubtedly difficult, but anyone willing to take on the responsibilities understands scheduling conflicts will arise.

The praising of the athletically gifted is embedded in our culture, but this crosses the line when they are given advantages over others. Ramapo College is an academic institution, and as with any place of higher learning, the value of education should be higher than that of sports.

I am not saying athletics are invaluable or lesser than education, but at college or a university, the border between which faction is paramount–athletics or education–often becomes blurred and muddied. So why, if it is true that academics are deemed more important, should athletes obtain priority registration over any other hardworking student?

Blaming athletes for this would be trivial because who wouldn't want priority registration if it was offered to them? But whether or not it is just, that is a completely different matter. Nobody is forcing Ramapo's talented athletes to participate in the respective sports they pursue. If the time management proves to be too much, that is simply a personal problem that should not be pushed on their fellow students.

Being an athlete is a privilege bestowed on the truly gifted; between practice, games and travel, athletes find trouble achieving balance in their education, but as a non-athlete, I say that is too bad. If an athlete cannot handle the pressures of being an idolized sports figure, then they should quit because that is all part of the lifestyle that they choose. Would it be fair if a student not affiliated with a sports team lost a spot in a class just because they do not possess the skills that earn them a number on a team? No. How could something like that be justifiable in an educational program that claims to value schooling over anything else, as that is its entire purpose to the student body?

I enjoy watching and playing sports as much as the next person, but giving a member of a team a spot in a class I potentially need is a travesty. Being on an athletic team is an honor that the majority of the students have not earned, but athletes themselves have not earned an academic privilege just for being able to perform well in a game or event.

It would be naïve to say that athletes do not have a tough going in college in terms of balance, but it would be even more insulting to say that a hub of learning should give their athletes an advantage over every other student who works just as hard and likely has a rigorous schedule as well. It would be nothing short of a disgrace to discredit other assiduous members of our community who put in their time and effort in various clubs, jobs and activities for the sake of bettering the college and themselves. Should athletes get priority registration for classes? The answer is simple–absolutely not.