The life of a student-athlete in the Final Four

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS — Forgive Gordon Hayward for daydreaming.Twenty-four hours before the biggest game of his life, the Butler star will be sitting in a lecture hall instead of a locker room. His hometown Bulldogs might be the toast of college basketball, but that won’t get the sophomore out of attending class the day before taking on Michigan State in the Final Four. Thanks to an unbalanced schedule (who takes Friday classes anyway?) and a bracket-busting run through the NCAA Tournament, Hayward is scheduled to study applied mathematics before studying the Spartans on Friday.Such is the life of a student-athlete in the Final Four.Butler teammate Shelvin Mack said as soon as his Thursday news conference was over, he had to run back to the team hotel and write a four-to-six page paper.Such is the life of a student-athlete in the Final Four.But not all of the athletes are able to stay afloat academically as much as Mack and Hayward. Some players feel as if they are totally immersed athletically and will just have to deal with classes once they get back to campus after the tournament.“The last two weeks, I’ve been to maybe four classes total,” Butler center Matt Howard said. “It feels like an extended spring break, you can’t really beat that. You’re playing basketball and that’s about all there is. That’s a college player’s dream.”Juggling academics and athletics is a laborious task amid a month appropriately known as “March Madness.” And when you’re forced to spend a majority of the time away from your classrooms and teachers, it can be a particularly difficult one, too.“We were in San Jose and Salt Lake City for the tournament,” Hayward said, “and right before that we had spring break. We’ve missed almost a month of school probably.”Such is the life of a student-athlete in the Final Four.Making up missed lectures and assignments can be a heavy burden, and one that falls on the players and the team’s academic support staff. But when factoring in games, travel, practices, film sessions, team meals, team meetings, medical treatments, media availability and pep rallies, you’re not left with a whole lot of time to hit the books. It is the ultimate test in time management. Find a way to keep your grades up, while also finding a way to keep your hardwood dreams alive.Some schools consider themselves well-trained experts in that area, such as Michigan State, which has been to six Final Fours in their last 12 years under head coach Tom Izzo.“We’ve had so much success that we have a nice template for dealing with the tournament,” said Jim Pignataro, Michigan State’s director of student-athlete support services.The proactive plan takes chance out of the equation. Spartan players prepare for a Final Four run in February, getting ahead on their class work and doing as much as they can academically before the athletic portion of their lives ramps up. Tutors aren’t allowed to travel with the team, but nightly study sessions are as commonplace as wind sprints in the Breslin Center. In his 15th year with the Spartans, Pignataro said he has learned to try and work with the players individually, because each one faces different circumstances and different classes.Players from all four schools benefit from having understanding professors. When your excuse for missing class is, “I’m playing in the Final Four,” and not, “My dog ate my homework,” teachers tend to be a bit more flexible. And with paper syllabuses becoming a thing of the past and online classes becoming more and more prevalent, Pignataro said it is becoming even easier for students to keep up during the season.Take Spartan senior Raymar Morgan, an advertising major, for example. Morgan has been taking advertising classes for four years and his professors know this time of the year tends to be busy for the basketball team.“They know him. They know he’s responsible. They know he’s busy. We work something out ahead of time and we almost never have a problem,” Pignataro said.The same is the case at Duke, where Academic Coordinator Kenny King oversees the team’s academic work.“I tell the players at the beginning of every semester that the best way to prepare for conference and postseason travel is to build strong relationships with their professors and that starts with great communication,” he said.King said the players do as much as they can before they leave and frantically try and catch up once they get back, but a lot of their class work is done on the run, which he described as no easy task.“Over the past three weeks, we’ve submitted multiple papers and had to prepare for multiple exams the Monday or Tuesday immediately following our first four rounds,” he said. “We have had to carve time out on the road to make sure we are prepared for the next play, so to speak.”Senior guard Nolan Smith said King does a good job of staying up on them, whether it be a 9 a.m. wake-up call reminding them to go to class or helping them back at the team hotel with an assignment.“Our focus is on a national championship, but we also have to take care of our responsibilities in the classroom,” Smith said. “We are still student-athletes, and the student comes first.”While Hayward and Howard said classes are few and far between in the month of March, West Virginia Educational Counselor Erica Wycherley said her players have been able to attend classes with some regularity at the beginning of the week.“You don’t hear much about the other half of their lives, but these kids are still engaged,” she said, “they are still very much involved.”With all of their tournament games being played in New York leading up to the Final Four, the Mountaineers have done more than their fair share of commuting. But Wycherley said players have been able to get back to campus to touch base with teachers. And although the school is currently on spring break, Wycherley said she doesn’t have a hard time convincing her players to study when the time comes.“The players know I’m pretty reasonable,” she said. “I try and keep a fair balance, because I understand what they have to do basketball-wise. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘Da’Sean (Butler), you have to be in study hall every day on this trip.’ It’s, ‘Okay, let’s set some time aside to get this done and we’ll work at it one piece at a time.”And if that doesn’t work, Wycherley said she could always turn to the coaching staff to provide a bit of extra incentive.“We used to do something that whenever someone missed study hall or a meeting with a tutor they had to flip this massive tractor tire 200 yards,” she said.But for the most part, such punishment is never needed. Wycherley said the players often call her for help and are aware they’ll have plenty to do once returning to campus — national championship trophy in-hand or not.“They are going to have to work double time compared to the average student because they are behind,” she said. “I don’t think people realize the actual time commitment of playing and traveling.”Hayward does. He’s already planning on being swamped once things quiet down and his college life is restored to some form of normalcy.But for now, Hayward will keep living the dream, and likely keep daydreaming as he sits through one last math class wondering what the weekend will hold.“The teachers have been really helpful to us,” he said. “When we go to class, a lot of it is, ‘Congrats’ and ‘Just do what you can do and do the rest when you come back.’” Such is the life of a student-athlete in the Final Four.A team of Indiana University journalists is reporting for the Final Four Student News Bureau, a project between IU’s National Sports Journalism Center and the NCAA at the men’s tournament in Indianapolis.last_img read more

BAILIFFS & THE BANKS DRIVE BUSINESSES AND FARMERS TO DESPAIR

first_imgTHE shocking extent of the recession on small businesses and farmers in Co Donegal is beginning to emerge, with many struggling to feed their families.An extensive investigation by donegaldaily.com has found shocking evidence of how the banks are ‘turning the screw’ on ordinary people who have seen their lives turned upside down by the economic downturn. This in turn has led to an increase in the number of people suffering acute depression.We have spoken to people from all walks of life.Today we publish the first of three of those stories, in their own words:THE FARMER: “Things started going wrong a couple of years ago. We have a small holding and things were always tight. We grow spuds and keep sheep and a few head of cattle.“You need credit to survive, but the banks have practically stopped that. If the weather was bad and you were short you could have extended your credit in the past, but not anymore.“Things have just got worse and the banks called in their money and we just didn’t have it to give to them.“I tried to reason, but there is no reason there anymore. The local boys don’t run the banks anymore. They don’t have a say.“The bailiffs were sent in and they took away all my machinery. The tractor is gone and I can’t even go out to the fields anymore except on foot.“I’m in a spiral downwards. We have a couple of teenage children and our concern is for them. My wife gets stuff from St Vincent de Paul. The IFA has been very good to is. “I’m on tablets now for my nerves. We’re afraid of losing the land. It’s going to be like the Glenveagh evictions all over again; we’ve been here hundreds of years and we’re now being taken off our lands by different people using the same old methods.“They had better bring an army with them. They’ll never get their hands on it (the farm). The penal days are back in Donegal. Bailiffs are running the county, driven by the banks and driven by the European community masters.”TOMORROW: The BuilderBAILIFFS & THE BANKS DRIVE BUSINESSES AND FARMERS TO DESPAIR was last modified: July 3rd, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal bailiffsfarmersIFArecessionlast_img read more

Lady Cricket Cranes summoned ahead of World Cup

first_img Tags: Lady Cricket CranesWorld Cup Qualifiers The Lady Cranes are the current African Champions (file photo)World Cup Qualifiers3rd-13th May 2019Windhoek, ZimbabweKAMPALA – A list of 40 Ladies have been summoned by the Uganda Cricket Council to start training ahead of the World Cup qualifiers due in Zimbabwe later this year.All the 40 ladies feature in the local league and were selected based on their performances for their clubs.The reigning African champions upset Zimbabwe in a pulsating final two years ago in Windhoek Namibia. This feat earned the lady cricket cranes a spot to at the global qualifiers in Netherlands in 2018 and also a shot at the World Cup main event.All-rounder Gertrude Candiru was the stand out player of the tournament for the lady cricket cranes earning herself the MVP award at the qualifiers.Their maiden appearance at the global qualifiers in Netherlands was below par but they at least managed to pick up two wins finishing 6th out of the eight nations at the event.In the squad that has been summoned former captain Barbara Mukankusi makes a comeback from her maternity leave on the back of a strong 2018 scoring lots of runs for her Pioneer side. There is room for Olila High run machine Damalie Busingye who last represented the lady cricket cranes in 2015.There are no suprises that Olila High has up to eight players in the training squad given the quality of cricket they have been playing for the last two seasons.Double winners Aziz Damani have six players in the squad, Jinja SSS has seven, Pioneer (6), KICC (3), Soroti Challengers (6), Premier (2), with Wanderers and Ceylon contributing a single player.There will be a group of girls trained in Jinja by Habib Mugalula while the group in Lugogo will be handled by Micheal Ndiko.The qualifiers run from May 3rd to 13th in Zimbabwe as the teams compete for the single slot for an African side at the global qualifiers. Full Training Squad. RITA MUSAMALIJANET MBABAZIRACHAEL NTONOIMMACULATE NAKISUYIJOYCE MARY APIOSTEPHANIE NAMPIINAFRANKLYN NAJJUMBAGERTRUDE CANDIRUKEVIN AWINOCONSY AWEKOCAROL NAMUGENYIPATRICIA MALEMIKIAESTHER ILUKORDAMALIE BUSINGYEEVELYN AYIPOIRENE ALUMOLEONA BABIRYETEDDY AYELLAMARIA KAGOYAKEVIN AMUGEBARBARA MUKANKUSIJANET NAKIRANDAWANICHAN HOPECLAIRE MUSHAKAMBAMACKENZIE AYATOPROSCOVIA ALAKOGLORIA OBUKOREUNICE ALUNGATBRENDA NABISALULYNET NAKATOPATRICIA MUNGURYEKMARIA MWESIGERACHEAL ACHANSARAH WALAZASARAH AKITENGSUSAN KAKAISHAKIRA SADDICKMARY AKELLOCHARITY NYOKARUEUNICE KOBUSINGYEComments last_img read more