Student-athletes at CSUF often face challenges balancing a regular school schedule with athletic commitments throughout an academic year, and most of the time their academics take a back seat.
The NCAA requires student-athletes to maintain a specific GPA in order to be eligible for athletic contests. According to the NCAA website, officials use three measures to track athletes’ academic success: grades, minimum credit hours per year and the progress toward earning a degree.
At the beginning of this year, the CSU system enforced more academic resources and different types of support an athlete needs when it comes to their school work.
CSUF athletics requires every student-athlete to meet with an academic services counselor at least once a semester. According to the CSU website, this will help the athlete understand the academic requirements they must meet in order to earn a degree.
The real challenge comes with monitoring the athletes’ academics while on the road, and Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball will play a heavily dominated road non-conference schedule for the rest of this semester.
Just last month, the team traveled across the country for a five-game road trip with stops in South Carolina, New York and Sacramento. The players missed a week of school over the 13-day trip.
Before the team left on the trip, players met with academic services counselor Allyson Kelly to look ahead at upcoming assignments and what they should be working on.
Kelly puts her notes from those meetings into an email and sends it to the coaches so they are aware of what each player needs to be working on.
“I have a journal of what’s going in each class and what’s coming up, so I’ll just look two weeks in advance and put that on. I copy and paste for every guy into an email so the coaches have that,” Kelly said.
Players were required to participate in an hour and a half study hall session in the hotel after practice and before heading back to their rooms.
Starting in the 2019-20 season, universities will be offered incentives for higher academic achievements and success and “Division I schools’ share of NCAA revenue will be tied to academic achievement,” according to the NCAA website.
Assistant coach Anthony Santos is in charge of constructing the non-conference schedule and monitoring the players’ study habits while on the road.
“Over a three day travel period, probably two of the days we will allocate an hour and half or more depending on the workload and let them sit in the meeting room and let them get working on their to-do list,” Santos said. “It’s providing a space to monitor them and, more importantly, a quiet space for them to get some work done.”
Scheduling can be a little difficult around the time of finals, but Santos makes sure to allocate players’ academic schedules.
“The biggest thing that we look at is finals, trying to plan our schedule around finals before and after. There are certain parameters, other than finals, that we work with. Our league starts at a certain date, which I have no control of, and our season starts on a certain date,” Santos said.