Student-athletes must choose between sports and their degree

Tamarra Newbern, News Reporter

*Clarification: The rule prohibiting UIS student-athletes from pursuing a nursing degree is applied by the NCAA, and not the UIC College of Nursing.*

Student-athletes interested in nursing will have to decide between participating in their sport or their education in the new UIS pre-nursing program.

The pre-nursing program at UIS will be in effect in the fall of 2016. Incoming freshman will be able to sign up for the program during their housing application to decide to stay in the living and learning community. Other students are also able to sign up and not stay in the living and learning area but are encouraged to do so.

Incoming freshman who sign up to be in a UIS sport and the pre-nursing program with UIS will, during their junior year, either have to drop the sport in which they participate or discontinue their time with the nursing program.

The reason behind this is because the program is in partnership with the UIC nursing program on campus. If UIS student-athletes participate in the UIC nursing program they would be in essence a UIC student while being housed on the UIS campus. Therefore, the students in the UIC nursing program can’t continue as a student-athlete at UIS since they are two different universities.

According to Cynthia Reese, regional director of the UIS pre-nursing program, “They cannot participate because they sort of attend their (UIC’s) school/program. Students who apply to the UIC nursing program become UIC students. The student officially transfers from UIS to UIC. The BSN degree is awarded from UIC.”

Director of Public Relations Derek Schnapp explained that “Student[s] who sign up and are accepted into the pre- program will be in the program with UIS for the first two years. Then students will be working on completing their prerequisites. After the first two years the students in the program will apply to the nursing program with University of Illinois at Chicago.”

Once approved to the UIC nursing program they begin their core classes for their nursing degree.

Therefore, student-athletes considering the pre-nursing program in the near future might have to make a decision between sports and the nursing program after two years into the program.

So far students in any other activities are not included with this situation. UIS athletes applying to the nursing program could participate in an intramural sport to continue something they enjoy.

As of now this rule is in effect for students and student-athletes interested in the UIS pre-nursing program and the UIC nursing program.