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Under pressure: How student athletes balance school and sports

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The news of NCAA sanctions issued against the University if Notre Dame begs the question: is being a student-athlete too much for some students to handle?

WSBT 22 spoke with local high school and college athletes and coaches about the pressure to perform in the classroom and on the field.

Former Notre Dame football and baseball player Evan Sharpley admits the demand can be difficult for student-athletes.

"It was very important for me, very quickly, to learn what I could say yes to and the things I needed to say no to," Sharpley said.

Those we spoke to said they're learning that sports and learning needs to be a balancing act.

"Some people ask me why I put my phone away or why I turn it off," said high school baseball player Cameron Cook. "It's because I don't have that much time, so I need to get everything done in school, and then I have the time athletically out of school."

Sharpley played five years of football and baseball at Notre Dame.

Now he owns Sharpley Training in Elkhart.

He trains middle, high school and college athletes.

Even parents join in on workouts, too.

"The structure that athletics provided always helped me with my academic work as well," Sharpley said. "That structure now carries into my life, currently in my business."

Athletes WSBT 22 spoke to say training helps them stay on top of their goals and focus in and out of the classroom.

"You always hear the same thing - work hard in the classroom and it always comes out in the field," said Craig Osman, a freshman at Indiana University South Bend and former Penn High School football player.

"It's just about staying focused and keep doing that you love doing, and you'll get through it all," said college football player Adam Glanders.

Sharpley says that was always the mentality he had when he was at Notre Dame.

But that's not always the case for everyone.

"Like it or not, cheating happens on college campuses, and to take it out on the entire program, I think was a little bit much," Sharpley said. "But, if you're at a school like Notre Dame and you hold yourself up to that standard. Certainly there's going to be criticism and national criticism because of that."

WSBT 22 also spoke to some local high school coaches about how they prepare student-athletes to go on and play at the college level.

They say the most important thing is to understand the NCAA standards and the athletic and academic standards at each university.

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They also stressed the importance of parents, kids and coaches putting academics first.

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