Senoir Lexi Cappalli is a member of the UNC gymnastics team. She acts as a liaison to the committee, giving members an opportunity to understand the life of a student-athlete firsthand.
Cappalli said that student-athletes have to be good at time management because the University requires long hours of practice.
“The school requires that we do three and a half hour practices in a day, and most sports are similar, but there’s also an hour of treatments banking each end of the practice. That’s five to six hours that you’re spending on campus that have nothing to do with academics,” she said.
“But the problem we’ve discussed over and over this year is just how do we lessen those time depends. Because all the hours you’re putting towards your sport are needed, so we wonder if we fix it within the sport or outside the sport.”
The NCAA requires that all student-athletes take a minimum of 12 credit hours a semester, so decreasing their time demands is difficult, committee member John Stephens said.
“One athlete asked me if there was a way to flex more during the summer then underload during the season, and that would make sense from their perspective, but right now one of the barriers would be NCAA eligibility rules,” Stephens said. “The question then becomes where’s the slippery slope on this — if we say we are committed to student success on both levels, if we start quote unquote underloading our student athletes, it’s another way of preferential treatment that may be inconsistent.”
Cappalli said that one solution would be to implement a standard procedure among faculty that allows student-athletes to make up missed assignments or exams in an organized manner.
“We have these travel letters that we give out to all the professors, and I think maybe half of my professors have never read it,” she said.
Committee member Lissa Broome said that student-athletes are given an academic plan, which provides tutors to assist with academic time management.
Cappalli said, “My academic plan is a specific tutoring schedule catered to you.” “When I got here it was just spend six hours in Loudermilk and here are the tutors that are available to you, and now there’s scheduled tutoring time based on your specific needs, so that has been super helpful.”
Committee member Beverly Foster said that she is constantly impressed by the time management skills of student-athletes, even when they are faced with so many demands.
“But I was also very impressed by the other activities they do, such as service activities and personal interest activities,” she said. “I’m always impressed by — despite the commitment, they always have a busy life and organize themselves well.”