Student-athletes perform service work off the field

College athletes do much more than go to class, practice and play games. Athletes are active in the community with volunteering, attending weekly leadership classes, having grade checks, study table, weekly meetings and an optional Bible study.

Zayne Medhaug, a sophomore running back for MSUM’s football team, said the football coaches are active in the academic progress of their players.

At the beginning of the semester, the players meet with their coaches. The coaches get the syllabi from each player for their classes. Medhaug said this makes the coaches aware of what the players have going on throughout the semester.

“The coaches and professors are very flexible,” Medhaug said.

During the semester, players have regular grade checks every two weeks.  Medhaug says coaches pay attention to their players’ attendance in classes, and professors are understanding when it comes to athletic responsibilities.

Study table is also available for football players. Study table is a two hour study hall on Mondays and Wednesdays. Freshman and players with GPAs lower than 2.5 are required to attend, but all are welcome. This time is spent working on homework and studying for class.

“It’s always school first,” Medhaug said.

Players have lifting, yoga or meetings every morning at 6 a.m., followed by class, then practice and either leadership training or Bible study.

“Playing a college sport requires a lot more commitment than high school sports,” Medhaug said.

A tremendous amount of time is spent training, lifting, watching film and learning plays.

“It’s like a job,” Medhaug said.

The off-season is also a big commitment. Medhaug says the football team spends a lot of time training and practicing throughout the summer.

“In high school it’s optional, but in college you don’t have a choice,” offensive line sophomore, Troy Peterson said.

Football players also have the opportunity to attend Bible study every Tuesday night. This Bible study is called “Athletes in Action.”

“We tie our faith into our athletics,” Peterson said.

Football players must attend leadership classes every Thursday night. Medhaug says this class focuses on getting the most out of life and being positive.

“It uses athletics as a way of learning, but focuses on life after and outside of athletics,” Peterson said.

The athletic department at MSUM also keeps players involved in the community. Players are required to volunteer at events in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Medhaug says the football team has volunteered at a 5k in Fargo, a pancake feed, a golf tour and a baseball game for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

This year the MSUM women’s basketball team has also volunteered.

Drew Sannes, a freshman forward for the women’s basketball team says they volunteered cleaning up at WeFest and working at Rib Fest, the Taylor Swift concert and a Bison game.

BY MARA WATTERUD
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