Not only can you do both, you *should* do both. It’s not an either/or proposition – to present as such is a false dichotomy. I’ve had lots of academic all-conference athletes and academic all-american teams as well as natiuonal champions, conference champs and so on. I am as easily annoyed by people who waste their opportunity for a quality education as I am with those who waste their athletic talent.
I realize that I may be in the minority here, but I just believe that practice is fairly sacred. I’ve had kids who had to take classes that conflcited with practice. We work around it. Family things do come up, and when reasonable I try to accomodate those things, but it’s not an absolute. With the younger student-athletes I am a lot less flexible until they demonstrate a certain level of responsibility/commitment to excellence.