Student athletes in Omaha say education is a vital part of their success.
They gave that message to thousands of local elementary students Friday.
If kids want to play sports when they get older, they have to start reading now.
That’s the message from student athletes at the College World Series, NCAA Readers Become Leaders event at D.J. Sokol Arena.
"Reading comes in handy all the time,” said Brianna Rollerson, Creighton Women’s Basketball. “I read a lot. My teammates read a lot."
Making the connection between sports and reading.
"We share books together,” Rollerson said. “Reading can be used throughout your life. You guys should work on being readers now."
If kids can get excited about college sports, student athletes say they have to read their way to college.
"They want to be on that stage in the future, but there's a student part to student athlete and I think assemblies like this really stress that where they see the other side of the athletes they look up to," said Ty Medd, Creighton Cross Country.
Being a role model is an important part of being an athlete, Medd said.
"Kids look up to us,” Medd said. “We're in a position they want to be in the future. So, it's incredibly important to us to give back to that community and really serve as role models to the kids."
While the message is clear, to get kids reading at least half hours per day, these Fontenelle Elementary third graders already get it.
"It makes you want to read more books and if you don't have nothing to do, it's kind of like something fun to do when you're not doing anything," said Corde Whitcomb.
"You can have a fun time,” said Rakim Hayes about reading. “You can have some imagination. If it's not a pictures book, you can imagine."
There were 3,300 kids from 39 elementary schools at the Sokol pep rally.