OU Division I athletes hard at work over summer vacation

There is no offseason for student athletes. Jackie Kisman, a senior on the Oakland softball teams describes a day in the hectic life of a Division I athlete. Kisman led the team last season with a .345 batting average, while also notching 38 hits, 12 runs and six RBIs.  

The daily grind

Kisman and student-athletes of all sports dedicate countless hours throughout the summer in order to perform exceptionally.

“I always focus on getting my softball skills better,” Kisman said. “There is always something to break down, whether it’s your throw, swing … and make it better. Also, there are always new things to learn even though we are already D-I athletes.”

With this mentality, she joined a competitive summer league playing for the Indiana Slammers. She managed to post an impressive batting average of .446 on the season. And she wasn’t the only Grizzly in the USSSA women’s fast-pitch league, as junior outfielder Courtney Wroubel played for the Lady Explorers, of the same league.

This kind of commitment is expected of all Division I athletes, and may be necessary to remain competitive.

“I think it’s crazy but enjoyable at the same time. I like to be constantly on the go and always having things to do,” Kisman said in reference to the busy summer schedule she faced. 

On top of competing in leagues like Kisman and Wroubel did, workout and conditioning schedules are handed out to all the athletes and they’re expected to follow the regimen.

Mind and body

Kisman said she starts her days typically around 5:30 a.m. in order to make it to their mandatory 6 a.m. workout sessions.

After the morning conditioning session, she barely has time to squeeze in classes and lunch before her three-hour afternoon practices.

The day doesn’t end after all of this; each player has a set number of mandatory study table hours that they must attend to stay eligible. This number is generated based upon the student-athlete’s GPA and age. After this, some athletes even take night classes, and yet many find the time to work extra jobs.

On the road again

Of course all of this is without mentioning the fact that many teams spend a great deal of time on the road. Road trips are a necessary part of athletics and dealing with them academically can be a challenge.

“We spend a lot of time on the road,” Kisman said. “Usually Thursdays and Fridays are the days we miss most, occasionally on Mondays and Wednesdays if it is a far trip. We try not to go two weeks in a row of missing the same day just so that we don’t get too far behind in that class. It can be challenging to miss class and still do all of the work.”


The grind never ends for student athletes. Kisman is one of hundreds of thousands that manage to make it work. Managing the busy schedule is all part of what they signed up for when they committed to D-I sports.