We’ve all seen it. Athletes sit in our classes saying nothing, and we assume for the sake of our own egos that they fit a certain mold. “Dumb jocks” we say to ourselves. Well, think twice before you put a label on someone you barely know. Kane Crowell is a senior, majoring in exercise science here at Maryville College, who also plays safety for The Fighting Scots. You can see him on the field sporting the number five. He is a standout senior with regard for academics as well.
“The girls think that because we play football, we are dumb,” Crowell said. “Since I started here at MC, I have always been hard on myself when it came to school work and my education.” “I know the stereotype, and to me it’s kind of true,” Crowell said. “Most guys come here just to play ball. I think that people like Noah Bowman make a difference and show us the way to success both on and off the field. As we players attend school, we build our reputation. As a team, it’s up to us to disprove that stereotype and prove ourselves as athletes as well as students.”
Crowell shows the kind of perseverance and will that our student body strives for. The difference between the average student and an athlete like Crowell is when all your assignments are done, and you are sitting in your dorm watching CSI or Law and Order, he is still working hard. He has to get the same academic workload that you have finished. Then, he has the pleasure of fulfilling the daily responsibilities that come with being an athlete, such as hitting the gym, running drills, lifting weights and learning plays. Academic support coordinator Noah Bowman is responsible for making sure that these phenomenal players succeed off the field. Bowman’s goal is to make sure that each athlete maintains a specific GPA throughout his or her educational experience at MC.
Prior to being an athletic mentor, Bowman worked with juvenile delinquents and prepared them for the world that awaited them when they were done serving time for misdemeanors and more serious offenses. “Students I work with are what are referred to as high risk students,” Bowman said. “High school was a breeze for them because all their teachers are on board with the athletic system and they know they have the ability to push them through for the sake of the team. The problem comes when they have sailed through high school as a football hero but get here and realize they are not ready for the academic world.” According to Bowman, these athletes are put under the microscope several times throughout each semester in order to ensure that they are not falling behind in classes, missing class, skipping practices or falling asleep from pure exhaustion.
“On average these athletes set aside an average of about 32 hours a week for practice alone,” Bowman said. “I also make sure that they have 25 hours of focus time a week. That keeps them in the academic mind frame and allows for them to stay caught up on assignments. Most people just don’t realize the time and dedication that it takes to be an athlete.” Bowman continued, explaining that academic success for these athletes is a process.
“In the first month, the athletes are usually drowning,” Bowman said. “When the week three alerts come to my desk, we start to see a change and more and more of them start to show up at the Cooper Success Center. That for me is the hard part. It is tough to get them out and looking for the help they need in order to make through here and get that degree that they want.” It is a common misconception that there are huge athletic scholarships that are handed to these gridiron titans. The fact is that when it comes to Division 3 football, there are no athletic scholarships that are available.
What this means is that despite the fact that these men could have gone to UT, Virginia Tech, FSU or any other university that would have paid for them to sail through as a number on a jersey rather than a number on a paper, they chose this institution because they wanted to become something more. So, the next time you sit behind someone like our quarterback, Eric Sisson, or get put into a group with the likes of Kendyhl and Ruben Rodgers, remember one thing: If they are quiet, it probably will not be because they are “dumb.” It is much more likely that they are tired and physically worn out.
Any athlete will tell you what they have accomplished on the field, but only a Scot will tell you what he or she has accomplished off the field.