Dating a College Athlete: Inside the Relationship


Love/Sex Writer | Kayla Blanton |

Between class, studying and countless hours of practice, one might wonder if a college athlete would dare tackle the task of a serious relationship. There are, without question, some that have taken it on, and their significant others have come forward to share their struggles and triumphs as a couple with a third wheel in their relationship.

Sometimes a homerun in love gives you more than you bargained for when you’re dating a college athlete. Source: Tumblr
Sometimes a homerun in love gives you more than you bargained for when you’re dating a college athlete. Source: Tumblr

Whether that third wheel is football, baseball, golf or track, each sport has proven to cause some strains in relationships between college students. However, they have also offered some rewarding experiences that have made the struggle worth it.

Raquel Devariel, a sophomore Bobcat from Puerto Rico, reached out to university administrative staff to put her in contact with other Puerto Ricans at Ohio University at the start of her freshman year. Manny De Jesus was the name she received, and once she discovered that he was a baseball player, retreat mode was activated. “I completely disregarded him because he was an athlete,” said Devariel, assuming De Jesus would never have time to dedicate to a girl, or a friend other than his teammates.

Fatefully, they bonded over Chipotle burritos after running into one another in an academic building, and the rest was history. Now, Devariel has a whole new appreciation for the baseball team and college athletes as a whole. “It’s like a different perspective on college,” said Devariel. Essentially, athletes are studying two professions, an academic major and their sport of choice. This requires them to be very driven and dedicated individuals, not only for their sport, but within their relationships as well.

“Every day is a challenge,” said Devariel, “just because we have such busy schedules.” For most couples who are faced with the task of balancing an athlete’s lifestyle, it’s hard to find time to spend alone. According to Devariel, most of her alone time with De Jesus is spent eating or studying during the week. This makes the even bigger challenge finding time to be alone, and to relax without other obligations.

Krista Roehling, a senior psychology major, faces this challenge twice over, being an athlete as well. Roehling participates in track and cross-country at Ohio University, while her boyfriend Peyton White is a golf player for OU. The two have been together for nearly a year, and have faced many challenges while keeping themselves dedicated to each other and their sport. This sometimes allows them to only see each other two out of 14 days because of tournaments and practices that require traveling.

However, Roehling believes that dating an athlete while being one herself, is too rewarding to take for granted. “He understands exactly the time commitment it takes to be an athlete…and it’s nice to bond over talking about our sport with each other because he understands exactly what it feels like to really want to accomplish something big,” said Roehling. She said that White really motivates her to strive for the best and he also knows how to give the perfect pep talk before an important meet. “Athletes are pretty high maintenance,” she said. “We need a lot of support to get us through the stresses.”

Kyle Robbins, a senior in sports management, has spent a lot of her time around athletes working for OU’s football team. This has given her some experience in dating them as well, and she has learned what makes this type of relationship work. Right now, Robbins is with Ian Wells, a senior cornerback on the OU football team. “Dating an athlete has definitely been fun, I have gotten to know the whole team and they have welcomed me like I’m family,” said Robbins. She also loves being able to cheer him on from the stands with all of his friends and family.

However, most people don’t realize how much time football players spend preparing for game day, and how often they don’t get to see their significant others. “We text more often than the normal couple probably does,” said Robbins. Wells has to wake up at 6 a.m. three days a week and practices 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., while also setting aside the whole day before the game to prepare. This can cause strain on a relationship, but Robbins and others have found ways to make it work. “Keep your head high and look at all the positives, because at the end of the day they are doing what they love most with the person they love most,” said Robbins.

When it comes down to it, athletes are normal students who want to spend time with their significant others just as much as the next person. In the case of Devariel, she’s dating the person she loves, who just happens to be an athlete. “Dating [an athlete], you really just forget about it,” she said. Across the board, constant support and understanding is what it takes to make a relationship like this strive. One piece of important advice from Devariel: “If they’re tired, don’t make them go out.” However, celebrating after the big win is a must, and is always worth the hard work and dedication from both ends of the spectrum.