DU basketball competes off the court

Senior Chase Hallam reading through his Accounting homework the night before he travels

Senior Chase Hallam reading through his Accounting homework the night before he travels

Student Athletes at every University face the same diffictult task. While trying to stay on top of their game, they have little to no time for school work. With a vigirous practice and travel schedule, competition for some of these student athletes have evolved off the court as well.

Outside of school, athletes have to balance practice, travel, weights, film, training room hours and competition.

From the outside looking in, student athletes may appear to receive royal treatment due to their frequent out-of–town competition getaways and free gear, but one way or the other, it is all earned.

 
At the University of Denver, there are currently 17 NCAA Division 1 teams, all of which travel during competition.

 

During their competitive seasons, they are given time restraints on practice by the NCAA which will not allow the coaches to go over a 20 hour limit per week, with two of those hours dedicated to weight training.

 
Preparing for practice every day is not the simple task of waking up and stepping onto the court according to Junior forward Chris Udofia on the Men’s Basketball team.

 

Gearing up for practice

Udofia is one of several DU athletes who are playing through injury. This past summer he tore the labrum muscle in his left hip.

 
Every day before practice, Udofia has to report to the training room about an hour before practice to heat his hip, and receive treatment from the trainers and doctors on staff.

 

From there, he reports to the weight room with his team where they go through stretching with their strength and conditioning coach for 15 minutes. Then, after a two hour practice, he reports back to the training room to receive more medical attention on his hip and ice.

 
“Going through all of this is just natural to me now, it’s just a routine. Not too many people know how much time we have to put into our sport. A two hour practice really means five hours because we generally come an hour before to prepare, and stay an hour after to ice and prevent further injury” says Udofia.

 
Udofia is a science major which means he often has lab in the evening. So after school in the morning and practice in the afternoon, he grabs a quick bite to eat and heads to more class.

 
“After practice I am extremely tired. It takes a lot of effort to stay awake in class and whenever I finish, I come back home and have to start my homework. I usually fall asleep on the couch with my laptop on” says Udofia.

 

Junior Chris Udofia trying to study after practice.

Junior Chris Udofia trying to study after practice.

On the Road
Maintaing a schedule to complete school work on campus can prove to be a difficult task, but being on the road during away games can be just as difficult.

 
Senior guard Chase Hallam from the Men’s Basketball team embraces the struggle of staying on task with his school work. He is an Accounting major with a 4.0 GPA.
Many believe that when athletes travel for road games, they fly first class, stay in the best hotels in the best cities, and get to hang out and sight see the city. According to Hallam, that is the exact opposite.

 
When DU athletic teams are in conference season, they typically schedule two road games for that week, so they basically miss that entire week of school.

 

 

If they play on a Thursday and Saturday, that means they travel on a Wednesday and play the following day.

 
Depending on what time the game finishes or how far the next city is, the team either travels after the game or Friday morning.

 

 

Practice is usually early in the afternoon on Friday, preparing for the game on Saturday.

 
After a Saturday night game, teams can’t fly out until early Sunday morning and arrive back to campus around noon. Since the NCAA mandates at least one day off a week for all student athletes in season, the Sunday travel back constitutes for that day.

 
During the duration of flying on the plane and riding on the bus, the senior guard is reading through hundreds of pages in his textbook and scribbling down notes, but it doesn’t stop there.

 
“When we travel for road trips, we travel just like anybody else would. We sit cramped up in seats and complain about leg room. From the plane we jump on a bus and drive into cities that I never knew existed, like literally in the middle of nowhere. When we make it to the hotel, I’m always praying that they have wifi because I am out of luck if they don’t” ,says Hallam.

 
If you are a freshmen or have a poor GPA, the school makes it mandatory for those student athletes to complete study hall hours, which is only three hours for the men’s basketball team per week.

 
Freshmen gaurd Bryant Rucker said“I have been in study hall since the start of this school year, getting three hours on campus is easy, but completing them on the road is hard. We never have any free time between traveling and practicing during the day. After our games, it’s always near midnight and we fall asleep and travel again the next morning.”

 
All DU athletes have to make time in order to stay on top of their work as student-athletes.

One Response to DU basketball competes off the court

  • Elizabeth Rose
    Elizabeth Rose says:

    I think this is an interesting story because students who are not athletes at DU have no idea what it is like to have to balance practice, games, traveling and school all at once. I like how you made it very specific to basketball and did not generalize all of the different teams together. Your interviews were effective in showing that being an athlete is not as glamorous as other students may think it is. I thought your pictures fit into the story well because they put a face to the interviews. Overall, informative news story. Good job.

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