The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday February 4th

Student-athletes’ time commitments in question

The discussion happened in light of recently proposed NCAA legislation that aims to better regulate the amount of time student-athletes spend on activities related to their sports.

The NCAA resolutions would mandate that sports teams’ travel days not be counted as a “day off” for athletes and “countable athletically related activities” be prohibited for three weeks after the conclusion of the championship segment.

The resolution would also mandate that the period of day during which students are prohibited from athletic activity be extended from the original time frame of midnight to 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

In December, representatives from member institutions of the ACC will meet to discuss the legislation.

The institutions’ conversations about this legislation — which are happening in groups like the Faculty Athletics Committee — will take place before the institutions present their questions and concerns to the NCAA. Then, in January, the proposals will go to a vote.

Joy Renner, chairperson of the committee, said the NCAA’s proposed legislation only takes a few steps in the right direction when it comes to addressing the problem of athletes’ time management.

“(There is) more work to be done — I think that was the consensus today. We know some of the proposals seem reasonable to try and see if it helps with the demands,” Renner said.

“But there’s still data coming in from surveys and pieces, and it still comes down to (that) there’s only so many hours in a day.”

Faculty Athletics Committee members like sociology professor Andy Perrin agreed that while the proposals try to approach a better system of handling time management, they don’t come close enough to fixing any major problems regarding the big commitments athletes have to make to their sports.

“We’ve got three reforms that are trying to ameliorate around the edges,” Perrin said.

“But they don’t address the big elephant in the room to the extent that it needs to be addressed.”

Ezra Baeli-Wang, a member of the fencing team and committee representative from the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, said there were glaringly obvious reasons why there is still much work to be done.

“For some of us... (being an athlete) means you can’t be a certain major because that conflicts with your schedule,” Baeli-Wang said.

“I think for me that’s probably the largest piece of evidence, the most damning piece of evidence that just sort of says, ‘are these student-athletes really students first if you can’t even be something that you want to be, if you can’t pursue a career in a certain field because of your commitment to athletics?’”


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