Assistant Sports Editor
The UNC Asheville student body comes together as a community, but there is one label that is used to separate athletes from non-athletes: NARPs.
Non-athletic regular person is used to identify a person that does not fit under the category of an athlete.
Junior health and wellness student and baseball team member Brandon Lankford says he’s heard the label NARP used at many different schools, but it is simply a term used to identify a certain group of students.
Lankford recognizes the divide between athletes and non-athletes but does not view it as a negative thing.
“People like hanging out with their friend groups, but it’s not bad,” Lankford said. “I believe we all get along.”
Lankford said there is equality in the treatment from professors between athletes and non-athletes.
“I think some professors appreciate the hard work that athletes have outside the classroom, but I also think some favor non-athletes because they might think they are more invested into their school work,” Lankford said.
Senior health and wellness student and cheer and dance captain Betsy Helms and co-captain Tori Gibson said they have never heard of the label NARP’s, but did recognize the relationships between athletes and non-athletes on campus.
“Professors are a lot more lenient because a bunch are absent in my class and the teachers are like ‘alright just give it to me whenever,’ whereas we have a specific deadline,” Helms said.
The cheer and dance team is a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and receive athletic scholarships but are not considered a sport to UNCA. Gibson and Helms both said the cheer and dance team receives little to no recognition.
“That’s so frustrating because I believe our sport, even though it’s not considered a sport, is just as, if not harder than all the sports we have on campus,” Helms said.
Gibson said she notices athletes tend to clique together and the reputation that gets tagged to them isn’t one she is sure she agrees with.
“I don’t think they should be defined as a specific group,” Gibson said.
Gibson said some athletes have a reputation for acting as if they are better than the average student which can offend some people.
Gibson and Helms both hope for more inclusivity between athletes and non-athletes on campus.
Junior mathematics student Sara Purser doesn’t notice a major difference in the treatment from the faculty between athletes and non-athletes.
“I’ve yet to run into an instance where I felt belittled by faculty because of an athlete,” Purser said.
Purser said it does not make sense to not classify the cheer and dance team as athletes. She said just because they are pretty, does not separate them from the athletes.
When it came to intramural sports, Purser’s opinion changed.
“Intramural sports, I feel, is like going and playing football with your friends down the street, except they’re serious about that sport they’re playing in,” Purser said.
Purser said neutrality is the best relationship for athletes and non-athletes. She said she hopes the standing relationships between the two groups stay the same.
Senior management student Braulio Pescador Martinez is not an athlete, but enjoys the company of other athletes and does not take offense to the label NARP.
“A lot of the athletes who I have had the pleasure of knowing were honestly some of the most chill and laid back people,” Martinez said.
He said if you take a moment to talk to the athletes, they’re just normal people too.
Martinez sees faculty push athletes to do better than the average student and that their performance in class is more than acceptable.
“I have had class with many athletes and they are really hard working people. If anything, the professors are a little harder on them to keep them in line,” Martinez said.
The label NARP has been used at different universities, but when it comes to UNCA, athletes and non-athletes come together to create one successful community.
“I mean, they are normal people too and you gotta look past the “athlete status” they hold,” said Martinez.