Athletics tackles issues at forum



By Gary Hermann

UK Athletics tackled several issues facing athletes and academics Thursday afternoon in a forum called “Striving to Achieve Goals: Insights into UK Athletics.

The program began by highlighting the fact that UK’s 500 student-athletes had a 3.04 GPA, accomplishing a goal of Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart.

The coaches delved into the issues by first responding to misconceptions about their athletes.

“People think student-athletes don’t take academics seriously,” volleyball coach Craig Skinner said. “It’s hard not to find my athletes studying.”

While some coaches looked to debunk the myth that athletes don’t care about class, baseball coach Gary Henderson wanted the audience to know that not all athletes are set financially.

“People think everyone is on a full ride,” Henderson said. “People don’t get how the money works.”

Another misconception the coaches tried to discredit is that coaching is not a full-time job.

“Recruiting is a 362 day-a-year job. If not, you get beat,” Henderson said. “You’ve got to go see recruits.  Recruiting depends on relationships.”

Head softball coach Rachel Lawson discuussed punishment for student-athletes’ wrong-doing.

“Consequences don’t mean as much as the used to,” she said

While all three coaches expressed concern for the changing student athlete, they all agreed that aspirations outside of sports are a must for success.

“Three out of four families think their kid is going to play in the big leagues,” Henderson said “There are issues when it doesn’t happen.”