WVU student athletes investing more time in Big 12
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 06:02
A normal week for a college student at West Virginia University usually is very repetitive.
Those enrolled will take anywhere from 12-20 hours a week, attend class daily, put in a few hours at home each night – depending on major obligations – and enjoy some down time on the weekends.
It’s a life that can be at times filled with stress and at others centered around relaxation.
For the 550 Mountaineer student athletes, though, weekly schedules are much, much different, especially with the recent move to the Big 12 Conference.
Any variation of lifting, practice, class, study hall and games have always been incorporated into a daily routine.
But this year, West Virginia athletes have taken their commitment to a different level.
I was walking into my 8:30 a.m. business law course yesterday morning and noticed Kevin Noreen – a member of the WVU men’s basketball team – comfortably seated in his chair more than 10 minutes before class was scheduled to start.
Now, you may not think this is out of the ordinary, but Noreen had been competing in a basketball game a time zone behind us in Manhattan, Kan., at 11:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time - less than 10 hours before Noreen was scheduled to learn about tort law and appellate court.
In fact, Noreen and the Mountaineers didn’t pull into the WVU coliseum parking lot until 3:30 a.m., and who knows when the sophomore student-athlete finally climbed into his bed for a brief nap.
This is just one of many examples of how we can fail to appreciate the time invested by student-athletes at the collegiate level.
This past weekend, the WVU baseball team traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., for its first series of the season.
All seems fine, right?
Well the Mountaineers’ flight was set to leave from Jacksonville at 5:55 p.m. Sunday, but multiple delays forced the team to arrive in Charlotte, N.C., after midnight, and it didn’t arrive in Morgantown until nearly noon Monday.
Oh, by the way, the team hits the road again tomorrow to bus to Winston-Salem, N.C.
The West Virginia women’s basketball team experienced similar flight issues Sunday.
The Mountaineers were delayed nearly six hours waiting to leave for Ames, Iowa, and didn’t arrive until late Saturday night, after being scheduled to arrive Saturday afternoon.
The WVU women then went out Sunday and upset then-No. 24 Iowa State before returning home Sunday night.
The smaller programs can’t be overlooked, either.
All of the West Virginia tennis teams’ games for the remainder of the season will be played on the road, and its season runs nearly into May.
The same can be said about the West Virginia track team, whose season runs into June.
The bottom line is these student-athletes put in ridiculous hours when their frequent opponents of the Big East Conference resided in bordering states.
It’s just insane how many hours of traveling and commitment the Mountaineers are putting in now, with the closest opponent geographically in the Big 12 Conference being Iowa State – a 14-hour drive and nearly 1,000 miles to the west.
Take a moment to appreciate the hard work and dedication these 18-22-year-old kids endure.
And the next time you skip a class, realize Kevin Noreen is absorbing information about our judicial system after a game and a cat nap.