By Heather Doherty
January 26, 2017
The timer is counting down: 5 seconds.
Oregon State University has won the game! It’s time to celebrate, right?
Yes, of course. But for student-athletes, winning isn’t the only thing on their minds. After the festivities wind down, it’s back to the daily grind: five or six practices a week, weightlifting sessions and out-of-state games, in addition to homework, class projects, midterms and finals can make for a jam-packed workload.
So, how do they fit it all in?
Oregon State Ecampus online classes are a big help.
“I decided to take Ecampus courses because it was the best thing for my schedule,” says Sydney Wiese, the starting point guard on the OSU women’s basketball team and a speech communication student. “It’s been so helpful because you’re able to do it on your own time. And especially with the grind of basketball season, you don’t have to worry about missing class.
“I put academics first, and with Ecampus, it made it possible for me to do that.”
Athletic academic counselors and coaches agree, saying OSU Ecampus – a national leader in online education – provides a solution to student-athletes’ busy schedules.
“I definitely recommend Ecampus for our student-athletes,” says OSU women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck. “It’s vital, and it’s important that they have that option to them to allow them to stay on track and to graduate on time. It’s a great complement to the traditional experience.”
In the 2015-16 academic year, more than 480 OSU student-athletes across all sports – over 80 percent – took at least one OSU Ecampus online class to supplement their on-campus studies.
“It’s such a great option for them because they can access their classroom wherever they are,” says OSU Athletics Academic Counselor Paul Yager, who works with the women’s basketball and football teams. “If you have those time management and organizational skills and motivation, then it’s a great alternative.”
“It’s been so helpful because you’re able to do it on your own time. And especially with the grind of basketball season, you don’t have to worry about missing class.”
Student-athletes on the women’s basketball team say the breadth of courses offered online provides more flexibility in completing courses for their majors and baccalaureate core requirements.
And they say the online classes not only help them manage their workload, but also fine-tune their organizational skills.
“I took a few communication and new media communications classes and a couple bacc core classes online, like animal science and anthropology,” Sydney says. “You have to make sure that you put yourself out there and you actually read the lessons and do the reading and notes and discipline yourself to make sure you get everything done and everything in on time.”
An educator on and off the court, Coach Rueck instills a passion for academic excellence among his team. And his efforts and the team’s work in the classroom are paying off. In 2016, seven of the 13 women’s basketball players made the Pac-12 All-Academic Team.
“You can achieve not only the highest academically through Oregon State, but you can also achieve the highest athletically,” Coach Rueck says. “I think it just sends a great message that anything is possible from Oregon State, and being an alum from this university makes me extremely proud.”