Student-athletes everywhere are expected to shoulder the workload of their academic peers while traveling across the country and representing their school on the field.It’s amazing that these athletes have the time to finish their homework, let alone study for quizzes, midterms and finals.As we approach Thursday night’s game against the Washington Huskies, I ask: Where is the line between student and athlete?As the Trojans prepare to face the Huskies tonight, it’s safe to assume that the football players will not be attending class. Since the Trojans have practice in the mornings on weekdays, most student-athletes have class in the afternoons and evenings. With a 6 p.m. kickoff, there’s no chance that players will have an opportunity to attend those classes.Luckily for the Trojans, they will have played three weeknight games in a row at home. If they were playing on the road, they would most certainly have to miss at least one or two extra days of class.If you’re a USC student, then many of you know that we are currently in the middle of midterm season. This means there’s a pretty good chance that some players will be forced to miss midterms, an injustice to both the student-athlete and their peers.Recently, UCLA’s head coach Jim Mora brought up the topic of weeknight games. His team will face back-to-back Thursday night games after a bye this week. Mora was not happy with whomever was in charge of UCLA’s schedule.After his team’s loss to Arizona State, Mora went on a rant about how the scheduling was an injustice to his players. “It’s unbelievable we’re calling these kids student-athletes,” Mora said. “Yet we force them to miss six days of school.”Mora has a great point. How can anyone expect a student to keep up with his or her classes if he or she is forced to miss six days of school? Even I can’t imagine what missing three consecutive days of classes would feel like.Most skeptics will point out that student-athletes are at a university to play sports and eventually go pro. However, the reality is that most players will never go professional in their sport, especially football.There are currently 99 players listed on the Trojans’ roster, according to USCTrojans.com. The chances of all 99 players going professional are slim to none.Though other sports, such as volleyball and soccer, are faced with weeknight games, they are not affected as much as football. This is mainly because their games are usually scheduled for Friday and Sunday nights. Preparation for football is also drastically different than for other sports. I remember in high school, our football team would meet at 3 p.m. to start preparing for a 7 p.m. game.Weeknight football games also put pressure on students to skip class in order to go watch the game they paid for. I know I am not alone as the only person who has class during the football game. Luckily, my class is partially online, so the professor assigned us work to have done by Thursday instead of meeting in class. However, I’m sure that other teachers were not so willing to cut class because of a football game.After all, the main point of attending school is for the education, not for football.Weeknight games are a new concept as networks look for ways to increase their revenue. The Trojans didn’t play their first weeknight game until 2006, but they have played on a weeknight every season since. With the creation of the Pac-12 network and subsequent deals with Fox Sports and ESPN, weeknight games are not going anywhere.Similarly to how the NFL is extending its audience by adding Thursday Night Football, ESPN and Fox are hoping to accomplish the same thing with Thursday night college games. Unfortunately, these networks are more concerned with the athlete aspect of the term student-athlete.Until the University decides to step up and defend the student, networks will continue to schedule weeknight games. This means student-athletes are faced with an even harder task of balancing sports and academics.Someone needs to remind these networks and universities that school comes first, not sports.Nick Barbarino is a senior majoring in business administration. His column, “Beyond the Arc,” runs Thursdays.Darian Nourian is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Persian Persuasion,” runs Fridays.
CONWAY, Ark. – No. 1 -seeded Stephen F. Austin continued its run through the postseason with a 3-1 victory over No. 4 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday afternoon inside the Farris Center in Conway, Ark. The Ladyjacks were pushed to victory by Corin Evans’ match-high 19 kills and .419 hitting percentage in addition to 20 digs from Madelynn Miller.Set OneSFA took the opening game 25-23 after tucking away 14 kills on 41 swings and a .268 hitting mark. Danae Daron opened the offense up for the Ladyjacks, who recorded six kills in their opening seven points of the afternoon to knot the score at 7-7. Evans then tucked away a pair of strikes that placed the SFA squad ahead by a two-point margin. The Islanders then took the lead 9-8 on a service ace from Faith Panhans. The two teams remained close up until the set was deadlocked at 23 points. Xariah Williams and Bailey Mulder proceeded to close out the opening game for the Ladyjacks, notching a kill and a block, respectively, to put their team up 1-0 over the Islanders.Set TwoSFA jumped ahead on the opening play and never relinquished the lead throughout the second set of the semifinal match. Williams provided the punch this time, logging four kills on five attempts with no errors to her name. In total, the Ladyjacks’ notched 19 kills en route to a .474 team hitting percentage for the set. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Madison Green woke up and tacked on seven terminations to her stat line but the SFA offense proved too powerful and ultimately took the second game 25-18.Set ThreeThe Islanders’ seemed to be clicking throughout the third set as Green (13) and Chloe Simon (11) entered double-digit kill figures for the match. A&M-Corpus Christi’s offense was a force at the net as it edged out the Ladyjacks 16-13 in the kills category. Simon sealed the set for the Islanders with another termination on an assist from Green, to put SFA away 25-21.Set FourWith a bid to the championship match at stake, Stephen F. Austin hit the gas early in the final set, jumping out to a 3-1 lead and never looking back. Evans paved the way with six more kills to bring the Ladyjacks to a .355 attack percentage for the contest. Mulder’s defensive play at the net secured a 25-19 win for SFA, wrapping up a four-block set or the Ladyjacks and punching a ticket to the championship match.Stephen F. Austin will now face No. 2 Sam Houston State for the Southland Conference Tournament Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Opening serve is slated for 3:05 p.m. CT inside the Farris Center in Conway, Ark. The match will be an exclusive presentation of ESPN+, available via ESPNPlus.com and the ESPN app.