Probably makes no difference as long as the classes you take have good results. Might even be beneficial if you can balance the two and come out on top. Ive heard more good stories about athletes and interviewers connecting than the other way around
Definetly a plus in my mind and I have heard the same sentiment from admissions people too. Shows you can handle a alot on your plate at one time and its an EC that not anyone can have. As long as your other stuff is competetive (GPA, MCAT, clinical experience) it will definetly be looked at favorably
athletics came up in every single one of my interviews. i think it really helped me get accepted because it gave me something relatively unique. it can never be used as an excuse (claiming you 3.0 is due to the fact that you played a college sport), but i think it looks good when you can do school (w/ good grades), the sport and anything else on top of that.
4 years of varsity soccer, captain senior year. Athletics was mentioned favorably in all of my interviews ( 8 to date and 2 more this month). If your grades and mcat are competitive, an athletic background in college is helpful. But, as people have said, it will not excuse poor academic performance.
As long as athletics aren't used as an excuse for any poor part of an app, they can only be good. Adcoms realize that a lot more time/effort goes into a college athletic career than VP of the bio club...
In all of my interviews, athletic experience has definately been a positive point in the conversation. A student that can make the same grades and test scores as other competitive applicants while managing an athletic career is definately unique.
4 years of varsity volleyball was definitely a plus at my alma mater. They were interested in my ability to do so much and keep my grades up. My team's community involvement was also another positive. You can demonstrate that you are well-rounded by doing athletics in addition to all of the things premeds have to accomplish. You just can't substitute athletics for good grades, etc. More power to you if you can do it! Good luck!