The University of Michigan Athletic Department From The Eyes of a Student-Athlete

As a sophomore on the Varsity Tennis Team at the University of Michigan, I’ve heard many different opinions about the Athletic Department. I’ve decided to use this blog post as an opportunity to take some time to reflect and analyze the institution that converted me into a devoted Wolverine. My goal is to give an inside scoop of Michigan Athletics by describing the institution from the perspective of a student-athlete. Now readers, get ready for an exciting journey to Michigan Athletics!

(Image by: Andrew Horne)

“Relentlessly striving to make Michigan Athletics the Leaders and Best in every way”

The Athletic Department’s goal is to help student-athletes succeed not only in the field, but also in the classroom; they want to develop future positive leaders of the community, who proudly represent the block M and the embedded values of the University of Michigan.

How does the Athletic Department influence the student-athletes and impact their lives?

Student-athletes not only devote long hours of their time to practice in order to represent the University in their respective sports, but also commit to act in a responsible way every second of their lives because they understand they are not only representing themselves or their family, but also their teams, and the University as a whole. The Department holds the power to revoke their scholarships and their athletic eligibility for any act of recklessness or irresponsibility such as using drugs, or uploading pictures with alcohol on social media.

Who is the Athletic Department working for?

Michigan Athletics aims to benefit student-athletes and the University of Michigan. Contrary to what many think, it is a non-profit organization. Yes, it is true it annually records millions in revenues, but all the money is invested in new scholarships, facilities and resources for the nine hundred and thirty-one student-athletes in Ann Arbor. Furthermore, Michigan Athletics benefits the University of Michigan by promoting the Michigan brand worldwide. People tend to think the University financially supports the Athletic Department, and this is certainly not true. It actually works the other way around, since the Athletic Department has a huge advertising spectrum that reaches and attracts future students, faculty and donors.

Why do student-athletes continue to participate for this institution?

It is true being a student-athlete is like having a full time job. The countless hours devoted to improve in the athletic field cannot interfere with the educational aspect since the Michigan Athletic Department has a set of academic requirements every student-athlete must fulfill without exception. Morning practices, conditioning, weight lifting, specific training, injury treatments, team meetings and recruits hosting can be physically and mentally exhausting; however, athletes at Michigan think it is all worth it because as Bo Schembechler said, they know “what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team.” For student-athletes, representing the block M is an honor, and Michigan Athletics is more than just a formal institution: it is a family which we will represent and keep close to our hearts for the rest of our lives.