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Managing missed class time is part of the game

By Greg Johnson

When someone decides to become a collegiate student-athlete, it’s inevitable that he or she will need to manage missed class time to maintain academic success.

Learning to cope with this aspect of student-athlete life was a focus during one of the educational sessions during the NCAA Convention on Wednesday afternoon.

Bart Byrd, associate athletics director for student-athlete services at Baylor, joined Sarah Quatrocky, assistant athletics director for student-athlete services at Lynn, and Effel Harper, faculty athletics representative at Mary Hardin-Baylor, to talk about best practices.

All three stressed the importance of developing relationships with the faculty on campus.

The three panelists said they send sports schedules to the faculty to let them know the days a student-athlete will be missing class. They also stressed that student-athletes should be held to the same attendance standards as all other students when it comes to unexcused absences.

Since schools are diverse in the number of students on a particular campus or resources available, the missed-class-time issue doesn’t have a cookie-cutter solution. 

Among the best practices discussed:

  1. Having student-athletes invite professors to a social event (lunch or dinner).
  2. Developing a system where academic athletics administrators can be informed when a student-athlete misses class.
  3. Develop a progress report system to help ensure a student-athlete is performing at the right pace.
  4. Avoid taking classes with faculty who may be unreasonable about missed class time.

Panelists agreed that the most important factor was for student-athletes to stay engaged with the faculty to develop a good working relationship so that the student-athlete maintains academic success without compromising faculty expectations.