sports

IU senior more than an athlete



Senior sprinter Derrick Morgan is more than an All-American. He’s an IU student-athlete.

That’s how he sees it.

“I came here to IU for an education, not to go pro in my sport,” Morgan said.

Morgan, like the other 102 athletes on the IU roster, was recruited by IU Coach Ron Helmer to be part of an NCAA Division I program that dates back to 1904.

Twenty-eight Olympians have graduated from the program, the latest being 2013 Bowerman award-winner Derek Drouin, who now ?competes for Canada.

Morgan has his sights set on a different path, though.

“Someday I’m hoping to be an athletic director,” ?Morgan said.

Coming out of North Central High School in Indianapolis, Morgan was not a top-tier athlete.

He finished fourth in the 400-meter dash at the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Tournament in 2011, and he committed to Florida A&M for college.

“I came into college for an education in management and to run track at the same time,” Morgan said. “I feel like that’s something that many Division I athletes don’t focus on as much as they should — an education.”

While the minimum GPA for IU student-athletes is a 2.0, Morgan has a 3.1 since transferring from Florida A&M ?in 2012.

Morgan was also accepted into the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, a school that passed more than 60 percent of bar exam takers in 2014.

Fred Glass graduated from McKinney in 1984 with a Juris Doctor degree, and in 2009 he took on his current position as IU’s vice president of athletics and athletic director.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer when I was a kid,” Morgan said. “I remember my best friend’s parents were both lawyers, and it was something I really became passionate about. Then I found sports and entertainment law and decided to do that.”

Morgan ran his personal record in the 400 in 46.96 seconds this season at the Pac 12 vs. Big Ten Invitational at Arizona State, placing him sixth in the Big Ten.

He was named an All-American last season when the men’s distance medley relay qualified for the NCAA Indoor National Championship and finished third in the nation. That same relay set a school record and the fifth-best collegiate mark of all time with their time of 9:27.72.

On the trips to away meets, though, Morgan always has his laptop, finishing assignments for school.

“Traveling could take anywhere between four hours and 15 hours, so I always have my laptop on trips, ready to catch up on reading on the bus or in the airports,” Morgan said. “It’s pretty difficult to balance a full course load along with a full athletic load. It takes more time than most people would think.”

In the summer of 2014, Morgan traveled to London, where he participated in the Nation Building course.

This course taught students how nations build upon each other through government and economics, as well as teaching the difficult paths countries have faced in gaining statehood in the past.

This summer, Morgan will travel to Vietnam in a program called Coaches for College, where he will influence children of a developing country and motivate them to strive for a college degree through the competition ?of sports.

“I try to find some way to get out of the country every summer,” Morgan said. “It really shows you how small you are in the world. It has really matured me in a way that I could apply to my work ethic and leadership in track.”

Through his striving for excellence, track and field has always been a constant ?for Morgan.

“I’ve thought about what it would be like to just be a normal college kid sometimes,” Morgan said. “But I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”

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