Tag Archives: CSUN Athletic Department

They Shoot, They Score, But Do They Pass?

CSUN’s student athletes are still recovering from the NCAA penalization of their men’s basketball team, after the former director of basketball operations allegedly committed academic fraud. The NCAA found that the director, Lior Schwartzberg, was doing online classwork for some of the players.

The incident highlights the challenges for student athletes, and many would agree that, at times, academics take a back seat when it comes to student athletes. This can lead to conflict between faculty members and athletic departments. That’s where Ed Jackiewicz, CSUN’s NCAA Faculty Representative, comes in to ease the conflict.

“A lot of faculty think [athletic] students are on a free ride and getting all these benefits, when, in fact, a lot of them don’t get any money, or much money, at all,” Jackiewicz said.

This assumption is only one of the stigmas athletes face; others are that their lives are easy because they get special privileges as athletes, that they’re not graded as hard as other students so they don’t have to try as hard in class, or that they’re lazy when it comes to their schoolwork in general.

“The myth is that student athletes aren’t good students, when, in fact, there are a lot of successful [athletic] students,” Jackiewicz said.

CSUN’s Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin said a lot of misunderstanding exists about the day-to-day life of student athletes.

“I mean, they essentially have two jobs,” Martin said. “They have to be students and athletes.”

In order to keep this balance, student athletes have to be good time-managers.

“Unlike a non-athlete, they have schedules that they have to follow, and they have to have an inordinate amount of discipline to follow that schedule,” Martin said. “That schedule really propels them to the success that we want them to have, both academically and athletically.”

Another pressure on student athletes is being the face of their universities.

“I feel like there’s more expectation for us, being student athletes,” said Carl Brown, a member of CSUN’s men’s basketball team. “We represent the program. We have to represent ourselves in a good way, on and off the court, because we’re representing not just ourselves, but the school too.”

Some student athletes have  commitments besides their sport and their school work. Track & Cross Country runner Manny Vargas is not only a student athlete. He also works part-time, and is in a fraternity. “It’s been a very tough process … [to be]… a student athlete; you’re working and in a fraternity; it’s a lot sometimes,” Vargas said.

CSUN has been working on providing resources to ease the busy lives of student athletes, and prevent another penalization.

“It was a chance for us to create a place, the Matador Achievement Center,” Martin said, “a place where our student athletes could really feel like [they] get the love and support and encouragement that they need to be successful.”

With these resources, and better relationships between faculty and the athletic department, student athletes are starting to prove the stigmas wrong.

Moderator: Star Harvey

Producer: Nathan Hoffman

Anchor: Shuandy Herrera

Social Media Editor: Tephanie Martinez

Reporters: Breanna Burnette, Max Goen, Star Harvey, Shuandy Herrera, Nathan Hoffman, Tephanie Martinez and Jennifer Montiel

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The Next Season: Re-Branding CSUN As A Sports Culture Campus

When it comes to college sports, most people are more familiar with USC and UCLA than Cal State Northridge. UCLA athletes make it on to the cover of national magazines like Sports Illustrated, and USC is famous for its tailgating parties and its NCAA sanctions.

CSUN sports have never gotten that kind of national or even local media coverage, but now, under the leadership of new director Dr. Brandon Martin and with the support of new President Dianne Harrison, the University Athletic Department is pushing to create a successful sports culture on campus, and create a new brand for the university.

“I do think that athletics is a wonderful avenue to get awareness and interest in the university,” CSUN Marketing Professor Tina Kiesler said.

It’s not only important to make that brand known on campus, but also to spread it beyond the university’s borders, Kiesler said. “I think the student athletes are trying to get out across campus and make their presence known, but we also have the athletics department as a crack marketing team that Dr. Martin has, in part, brought in.”

Martin, a former USC basketball star who has years of experience in intercollegiate sports administration, has been the athletics director at CSUN for less than a year.

“I think we have one of the best marketing teams,” Martin said. “They really work long hours, they are in tune with my vision, but most importantly, they are in tune with our student athletes.”

Martin said he has taken a new approach to bringing awareness to the athletic program among students and faculty, using social media, events, and activities before and during games.

This month, the athletic department entered a multi-year partnership with Sport Chalet. The sporting goods retailer will team up with the university, supplying merchandise and offering deals.

But not all resources come so easily. In a public university, where money can be tight, it can be difficult to decide where to allocate limited funds.

Martin doesn’t think it has to be an issue.

“We don’t have to choose between academics and athletics,” he said. “We can optimize and maximize both.”

And students committed to that balance are exactly what the university is looking for.

“That’s the type of student-athlete that I’m trying to recruit,” said Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Jeff Stork. “I want kids who want to excel, and who want to come to CSUN.”

But in the end, marketing and sports culture are just one part of a successful athletics program.

“You gotta win,” Stork said. “That tends to bring more people out.”

 

Producers: Mahina Haina and Colin Newton

Moderator: Adam Schumes

Anchor: Mahina Haina

Digital Editors: Judith Retana and Jamie Gonzaga

Reporter: Nelssie Carillo

 

 

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