GPA report shows 50% of student intercounty players feel overwhelmed
Burden of playing so much sport affecting third-level academic studies
GPA CEO Dessie Farrell at the launch of the report entitled “Never Enough Time” – the experience of third level student county GAA players by Dr Aoife Lane, Department of Health Sport and Exercise Science, Waterford Institute of Technology.
Suitably titled “Never Enough Time” (indeed who has?), the report found that 55 per cent of student county players feel under pressure to represent their college, and 50 per cent of them feel overwhelmed by their commitments.
According to the GPA, over one-third of their membership are student players, and of those surveyed, 55 per cent are experiencing financial difficulties: 51 per cent would also like more time to have a part-time job, 56 per cent wanted more time to devote to their studies, and 61 per cent more time for family and friends.
Perhaps most worryingly, 40 per cent of those surveyed have had to repeat exams in college, and 14 per cent have had to repeat an entire academic year – considerably higher than data from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which revealed a less than 6 per cent repeat rate across all third level students in Ireland.
The report also calls for a later start to both the Allianz Football and Hurling League competitions, and that no Sigerson/Fitzgibbon Cup games be played on consecutive days (the semi-final played on a Wednesday night, the final the following Saturday).
“We believe that by tackling issues like overlapping competition structures we will be lifting a significant burden off the shoulders of these young players who are committed to managing a difficult dual career between sport and studies,” said GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell.
Among the issues raised by players were: lack of a consistent planning in relation to playing and training schedules, academic underperformance, financial difficulties, a lack of time with family and friends, time management and stress. Data used in the report was collated from several sources, namely the annual GPA player survey, student scholarship questionnaires and workshops.
Also highlighted in the report is that “one consistent item of feedback following consultation across a broad spectrum of stakeholders was the need to strive towards the designation of specific competition windows in the GAA calendar thus reducing the potential for players to have to play with numerous teams”.
Another recommendation was that “their respective managers/coaches agree on one strength and conditioning programme that they could carry out in the college setting”.
A full copy of the GPA Student Report can be downloaded from www.gaelicplayers.com