Some student athletes returned to campus this semester to a surprise that made academic success more challenging.
Athletic scholarships paid for athletes’ textbooks in previous academic years, but student athletes had to buy their own books this semester.
Garrett Pike, business administration sophomore and baseball player, was one of the students affected.
“Last year, I had no worries about paying for textbooks, and I was under the assumption it would be the same for this year,” Pike said.
“It took my coach a few weeks to tell us that we wouldn’t be getting textbooks paid for and that put us in a hole in a few different ways.
“The first being that class was already in session, so it did negatively affect school work.
“Secondly, by the time we were informed we wouldn’t be getting textbooks, the on campus bookstore was mostly out of the books that I needed for my classes. I had to order my books online and wait about a week to get them, further putting me in a hole for my classwork.”
Pike had some discomfort in his wallet, in addition to being disadvantaged in the classroom
“Financially, it wasn’t something that I was accounting for,” he said. “So adding a decently large textbook expense was unfortunate.”
Kayla McKenna, mass communications junior and soccer player, was an affected student, but the news wasn’t as shocking for her or her teammates.
“Honestly, I wasn’t all that surprised when I found out,” she said. “Freshman year, all my books were provided with no problem. Our coach just asked what books you needed, and you’d get them.
“Last semester, though, it was made known to us that only some books could be purchased and anything else would need to be provided by us. So, when we were told this year, it was upsetting, but it felt to me that we did have some warning ahead of time.”
Some student athletes think funding is the reason they did not receive textbooks, whether it is a lack of funding in the athletics department or in fundraising for scholarships.
Judy Reyes-Henderson, assistant vice president for development, is instrumental in obtaining of funds for the university and its students. She said the textbook issue was unrelated to fundraising.
“I haven’t heard anything on this from a fundraising perspective, but the concern has been brought up in our meetings with athletics,” Reyes-Henderson said.
Athletic Director Jim Abbott asked the coaches to contact financial aid officials about textbook money, Reyes-Henderson said.
“I’m not sure it’s so much as an issue with funds, as it has to do with perhaps an issue in communication,” she said.
Abbott was unavailable to interview with The Campus, but said each sports takes a different approach to use of funds.
Baseball Coach Denney Crabaugh said he thinks athletic scholarships are affected by university budget cuts.
“OCU’s athletic scholarships do not cover books. Budget cuts over the years, and recently, have eliminated or drastically reduced the athletic department’s ability to purchase books for its athletes,” he said.
“There used to be a pool of money that athletics and other departments on campus had that came out of our budgets in a kind of consortium that could be used for those purchases.”
Athletics officials are unsure if books will be covered again, but said it is best that athletes plan to buy their own books in the future.