Recent news of NCAA action against Mizzou resulted in a collective groan across MU’s Columbia campus.

As I reflect on the situation, I can’t help but wonder what it must feel like to be a student-athlete these days.

A shadow is being cast over the amazing accomplishments of some of the hardest working people I know.

What motivates my writing, poetically from the MizzouRec with swim training in full view, is the empathy I feel as a member of a minority group.

As many members of minority groups will attest, each of us feels embarrassment when one of us messes up or is accused of so doing.

And so I wonder how our student-athletes feel today as a shadow has been cast over their collective and individual endeavors.

I take classes with four student-athletes, and they inspire me every single day. I drag myself out of bed each day at 7 a.m. — woe be me!

Then I come to class and hear that these wrestlers, football players and track stars have been up since 4 or 5 a.m. lifting weights, running, jumping! And while I empathize with these student-athletes, I’m prouder of the fact that I have no reason to feel sorry for them.

They pull their respective weights on every group project, make no excuses, don’t ask for special favors from professors and are trustworthy colleagues.

All this while winning and carrying the burden of representing all of us who have the luxury of waking up at 7. While my sample size is relatively small, I’d hate it if the GPAs and academic achievements of the four student-athletes with whom I share the classroom are discounted by the alleged actions and inactions of a few.

Podie Chitan is a second-year international MBA student at MU.

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