Academic advising at UNC is evaluating support services provided to student-athletes.
At this month’s faculty athletics committee meeting, student-athlete academics and the Atlantic Coast Conference's transfer policy were discussed.
Lee May, associate dean and director of the Academic Advising Program, and Michelle Brown, director of the University’s Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, presented their progress in aiding student-athletes with academic advising meetings and periodic check-ins with coaches.
Student-athletes who are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences are highly recommended to meet with an adviser every semester they are at UNC. In 2013, Lee and Brown also created a group of five advisers that specifically advise athletes.
During the meeting, Chancellor Carol Folt questioned whether athletes would come to these recommended meetings. May responded that no punitive measures would be taken if an athlete chose to not attend.
“If a student doesn’t come in at the end of a term, we know who it is and we try to get them to come at the very start of the next term,” said May. “We try to focus on them individually and ask them to come.”
When this program was implemented in the fall of 2013, only 72.4 percent of student-athletes in the College of Arts and Sciences attended a meeting — this number jumped to 91 percent in the spring of 2014 and to 93.4 percent in the fall of 2014.
May said most student-athletes meet with their advisers at the Loudermilk Center for Excellence because of its proximity to athlete practices and lockers. Joy Renner, chairwoman of the Faculty Athletic Committee, said Loudermilk also serves as a respite from the celebrity-status that some student-athletes carry with them on campus.
“(Student-athletes) get lots of other students on campus all the time wanting to talk to them or wanting to talk about the game, Loudermilk is a safe place for them,” Renner said, “They get to be a student in Loudermilk.”
May and Brown meet with the coaches and staff of teams, such as football and basketball, regularly to check in on student-athletes.
“With football, we actually meet everybody once a week — that’s all the coaches, all the position coaches and (Academic Support Program for Student Athletes) council group. Also once a week each counselor will meet with his or her position coach,” Brown said. “Ultimately, Coach (Larry) Fedora is very involved. He has a structure where each of the position coaches are responsible for their student athletes.”
The committee discussed possible amendments to NCAA rules that directly affect student-athletes such as a rule within the ACC that takes one year of eligibility away from a player who transfers schools within the conference.
Some members of the committee, including sociology professor Andrew Perrin, thought that the harsh rules were unnecessary, especially since conferences such as the Southeastern Conference do not have such rules.
“I don’t see a need to be different in this regard specifically,” Perrin said.