The Faculty Athletics Committee met Tuesday to discuss students missing classes for the men’s basketball national championship game in Arizona, as well as tutoring resources for student-athletes.
Chancellor Carol Folt sat in on the meeting and offered her thoughts on how the men’s basketball team’s recent national championship victory has helped the University.
“People come here every single year because of sports engagements, and they get very excited about a national championship, but they come for the other athletic performances too and they come for our arts and our other academic performances,” Folt said.
Committee members also wanted to address the issue of cheerleaders and band members missing classes to travel during the postseason.
FAC Chairperson John Stephens brought up the concerns of one biology professor who said students in the pep band missed as many as eight classes between the ACC and NCAA tournaments — almost one quarter of the semester.
Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications Robbi Evans said athletes were required to travel earlier because of media obligations, but cheerleaders and band members are not required to go to the game and must receive permission from their professors.
FAC member Andrew Perrin said he agrees that the community has benefitted from the national championship, but reminded the committee that everything good comes at a cost.
“For us to just sit around a table and talk about how fantastically wonderful it is that we won the championship and how many people were involved in it — I think we need to recognize that it’s not just lectures that get missed, it’s labs, it’s discussions, it’s experiential and participatory education,” Perrin said.
Members also addressed the lack of effective one-on-one tutoring for student-athletes. Mike Greene, associate director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, said many of the restrictions for improving tutoring resources come down to a lack of budget and space.
“Right now, the way we do our tutoring, we pretty much utilize every tutoring room for most evenings,” Greene said. “It’d be hard to increase it by much simply because we don’t have the space.”
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President Ezra Baeli-Wang spoke about some of the concerns student-athletes have about their ability to speak out publicly on social issues.
“A lot of individuals have expressed at least some level of reluctance to rock the boat, whether that means fearing blowback from coaches or administrators or even their own teammates,” Baeli-Wang said. “I know one individual who is on a team that divides on racial lines and expressed concerns about being uncomfortable with being able to speak out on certain issues.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.