The contribution of athletics to a college experience

Providing a positive college experience for students is one of the central goals for anyone who works in higher education, and collegiate athletics is no different.

There is a large misconception in that student-athletes attend college only to play their sport. This fallacy is untrue in many different regards. Research has shown that student-athletes tend to post higher academic scores as well as graduate at a higher rate over students who do not participate in athletics. This can be attributed to stricter guidelines in order to participate and transfer, added academic resources provided by the athletic department, and having more invested individuals (such as coaches and administrators) looking out for the student-athlete’s well-being.

At Marshalltown Community College, we emphasize the importance of progress in the classroom, as well has having plans and goals for the student-athletes’ years after MCC. Over the past two semesters we have had 80 Academic All Region selections, an honor bestowed upon student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

In addition to the added classroom benefits, athletics provide students a way to get more involved in the campus community, and creates a sense of identity for the student body. At MCC we require our student-athletes to perform community service both on campus and in the Marshalltown community, which again adds to the student-athlete experience. The opportunity to represent the Marshalltown community is something that our Athletic Department and our student-athletes take great pride in and that we do not take lightly. We are one of only three colleges in the ICCAC that participates at the Division I level, and we are constantly striving to compete at a higher level. Over the past year, our soccer and baseball teams have achieved Top 20 ratings in the national poll.

The student-athlete experience provides opportunities for connecting the campus community through sports, obtaining a degree or earning the opportunity to transfer to continue their academic and athletic careers, and learning life skills to better equip students as they head into the workforce. Our goal within the MCC Athletic Department is to help student-athletes succeed on the field of competition, in the classroom, and in life.

We look forward to continuing to foster a sense of Marshalltown community pride and welcome all forms of support from the community in order to continue to grow our athletic program. We thank everyone in the community for your support of Tiger Athletics.

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Kathleen Brown is the Director of Athletics at Marshalltown Community College.