How Shockers study during NCAA tourney

Published On: Mar 13 2014 10:43:23 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 13 2014 06:08:13 AM CDT

While Wichita State's men's basketball team has the week off, players are taking mid-terms. Some people think they're in easy classes, but that's not the case.

The NCAA requires their classes to count towards their degree. Which means, the expectations are no different from any other student.

Wednesday morning, students inside Clinton Hall room 213 learned about time management. It’s a good lesson for all college students, but maybe most fitting for student athletes like Tekele Cotton.

Cotton, a communications major, and the other basketball players could miss three weeks of class during the NCAA tournament. "We all have busy schedules but this is a job and it's pretty stressful sometimes," said Cotton. "But we get through it and we have help."

They get help through academic services and Director Gretchen Torline. She travels with the team and tutors them on the road. "She has probably a million athletes," said Cotton. "I'm exaggerating, but she has a whole lot of athletes that she watches over and she's amazing. She does her job well."

"During the NCAA tournament, they require so many interviews, so many mandatory things that the boys have to be in that it is hard to squeeze in study time," said Torline. But she finds time for it.

Whether it's giving advice on papers, or giving exams, Torline says the players respect her and take pride in their work. "This team is special. This team is special in the fact that they really are focused. They don't really buy into too much of the hype," said Torline.

She's talking about the hype over a history making, undefeated season ... that could lead to a National Championship. "When I can hang a picture in my office of one of the guys in a cap and gown and they're graduated, that's my joy," said Torline. "If we go to the Final Four in the meantime, that's great. That's icing on the cake."

Torline says she couldn't do her job without the coach’s help. She says Coach Marshall makes the players' academic success a top priority.

"We're student athletes before anything so we just come here, we get our education and we come to get our degree," said Cotton. "On top of that, we're blessed to be able to perform on the basketball court every day."