‘It gets very tough’: Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament run coincides with hectic midterm season

first_img Published on March 17, 2018 at 7:17 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Syracuse redshirt freshman Matthew Moyer is the first scholarship men’s basketball player to also be a student in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He said he misses at least two or three classes per week during the season. He is a broadcast and digital journalism major, whose classes require frequent quizzes and projects that can take hours to complete. “We miss a lot,” Moyer said. “You have to be proactive about it. Being in Newhouse, it’s tough. With the down time we have, I try to knock out some work. Find time for self in my room. Tyus (Battle) is pretty quiet, sleeps a lot, so I can do my work there.”Junior center Paschal Chukwu is taking four classes this semester and will take a midterm exam when he returns to campus Monday. He emailed his professor before spring break, and she was “very understanding,” Chukwu said, and will set up a time for him to make up the exam outside of class time. It’s not any easier for student managers. Junior CB Garrett, a Newhouse student, took a quiz from the team hotel, usually a Marriott, on a road trip. He notifies his professors of travel plans at the start of every semester to minimize conflict and take exams before, during or after road trips. “It’s all about communicating with your teachers,” said Chukwu. “They are the boss so you have to do whatever they tell you to do. Sometimes they’re lenient, sometimes, you just have to deal with it.”Paschal Chukwu said he’s got a test to make up when he gets back to campus on Monday. Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerFreshman forward Oshae Brissett is in the same class as freshman guard Howard Washington, who’s out for the season with an injury. They study together when on the road, but Brissett said he tries to stay focused on the game. He typically tries to complete work ahead of time so he doesn’t have to study on the team plane or in the hotel. He credited Katie Scanlon, a director of academics who travels with the SU men’s basketball team, for keeping him in check.“Katie is really on us night in and night out so we’re not falling behind,” Brissett said. “Guys might not like it all the time, but she’s on us.” Earlier this season, freshman forward Marek Dolezaj and Battle were named to the All-ACC Academic Men’s Basketball Team. That’s because they earned a 3.0 grade-point average for the fall semester and maintain a 3.0 cumulative average during their careers, and have been notable contributors to SU on the court. Both Dolezaj and Battle pointed to Scanlon for her assistance in monitoring their class schedule and course work. “Being on the road now is great,” Howard said. “But we still have school work we have to make up. We’re hitting the books.” Comments DETROIT — Tyus Battle, Syracuse’s star sophomore guard who may leave for the NBA Draft after this season, is taking five classes for 15 credits this semester. He also plays 40 minutes per game for SU.“I don’t know how he does it,” Battle’s father, Gary, said. The most important games of the Syracuse season coincide with one of the toughest academic stretches of the semester. While SU has played its last two games over spring break, many players will return to school to make up midterm exams and assignments missed, mostly because the ACC Tournament took place in New York during the week many classes held midterm exams. The 11th-seeded Orange (22-13, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) has won two straight games, defying odds and earning a date with No. 3 seed Michigan State (30-4, 16-2 Big Ten) on Sunday at 2:40 p.m. in the Little Caesars Arena. Yet a handful of players will study up while on the road — namely team hotel conference rooms, the team charter flight or bus — and prepare for the second half of the semester starting Monday. That’s all while trying to earn a spot in the Sweet Sixteen next week in Omaha, Nebraska, which would take players out of more classes. “People forget we’re still student-athletes,” said junior point guard Frank Howard. “They forget the student part. It gets very tough, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We’re on the road playing almost an NBA schedule, especially the way our games are this year.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFrank Howard and Oshae Brissett average top-10 minutes in the country while also balancing their courseloads. Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerFor decades, the clash between college athletics and academics, particularly athletics and class attendance, has commanded news stories and dinner-table conversation alike. Athletic schedules in big-time conferences such as the ACC have expanded to span entire coasts. The schedules themselves have expanded in both time and distance. The geographic expansion of the conference increases travel time through the air, from softball to football to men’s hoops.All of this combines to create a juggling act for Syracuse athletes, especially those on the men’s basketball team, which plays about 30 games per year. And now may be the most difficult time of the year to manage both class and basketball.“We try to do as much as we can to get ahead,” said Tommy Powell, Syracuse’s assistant provost for student-athlete academic development. “Wherever our teams travel, we’ll contact the academic centers at institutions so they can maybe proctor a test or get some help on the road.”Powell said that at the onset of semesters SU Athletics academic coordinators send college advisers on campus a list of team schedules, practice times and postseason tournament dates. Then, the college advisers work with the athletes to ensure they are taking classes that don’t interfere with team lifts and practice time. Only if needed will SU Athletics make minor tweaks to the schedule, Powell said. There is a 120-credit degree requirement, and many athletes elect to take classes in the summer while training. Some graduate early. They all balance courseloads between 12 and 15 credits per semester, Powell said, because the NCAA requires student athletes to be enrolled in a full-time load (12 or more credits). Tyus Battle is taking five classes for 15 credits this semester. Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerThe conflict of academics and athletics may have reached a high point in 2015. ACC powers North Carolina and Syracuse were under the spotlight for academic scandals involving student athletes. UNC offered a “no show” class for student athletes (students received grades for phantom classes that they didn’t attend), and Syracuse allowed academically ineligible athletes to compete.An NCAA report revealed that in 2015, Division I men’s basketball players missed an average of 2.2 classes per week – or an average of about 30 classes over the course of a regular season that runs from mid-November to mid-March. Facebook Twitter Google+last_img