All Wichita State athletes now have iPads after a donation by an anonymous donor last fall. The intention is to aid athletes in studying, and to offer an easy and light carry-on during the busy sports traveling season.
Valerie Wadsworth, an academic athletic mentor, said that the investment of the iPads was predictable and a “necessary cost” because the “world is on technology.”
The volleyball team was the first team to get iPads because its active season was already underway in October. A month later all the other teams’ players were given iPads.
Veronika Blaskova, a WSU tennis player, was excited when she heard about getting the iPad, but she adds that she did not “necessarily need it” since she already has a laptop.
Samantha Shukla, a WSU cross-country athlete originally from Trinidad and Tobago, explains that she “felt special” about the iPad since her family would have never been able to afford one.
The iPads are for academic purposes only, and athletes cannot download any applications. They have to be satisfied with the WSU News Channel, MyFitnessPal (which offers a diet program including a calorie calculator), and Khan academy, which offers lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube.
The tablet also contains iBooks and iCloud, which provides the possibility to read and edit documents. The cross country and track and field teams also uses it for athletic purposes by watching video to study technique analysis.
Wadsworth said the most useful iPad option is for downloading textbooks for classes.
The athletes are allowed to use the iPad as long as they are in school, but as soon as they graduate they have to give the device to a freshman.
The only disadvantage Wadsworth mentioned is the fact that the Internet usage can be distracting if an athlete is not serious enough about school. Blaskova admitted she uses Facebook and Skype on the iPad habitually, even though she would not want to use them.
However, she confesses the iPad being blocked from extra applications is positive because they interfere with academics.
Wadsworth said the investment was a good idea since laptops would have been outdated. However, Blaskova suggests that the money could also have been invested in a new vehicle for trips.
Shukla even adds that international athletes, who do not have a strong financial background, probably benefit the most.