Athletics Advisory Board
West Chester University
In my role as NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, I would like to bring to your attention the West Chester University policy regarding excused absences for a University-sanctioned event and how it impacts student-athletes in your class.
This policy deals with any students who must miss class due to a University approved event such as competitive contests. For student-athletes this policy pertains only to competitions, it does not cover practices. It is expected that student-athletes will not miss class time for practice. The excused absence does include the time of the competition and also the travel time. However, if a bus departure time is for 12 noon and your class ends at 11:50 am, then the student should be in class until 11:50. Feel free to contact me if you are confronted with transgressions by the student-athlete.
The policy as stated in the University’s undergraduate catalog indicates:
“Undergraduate students participating in University-sanctioned events such as, but not limited to, the Marching Band, musical ensembles, theatre group, athletic events, forensics competition, etc., will be granted an excused absence(s) by the respective faculty members for class periods missed. Students will be granted the privilege of taking, at an alternative time to be determined by the professor, scheduled examinations or quizzes that will be missed. The professor will designate such times prior to the event. Professors can provide a fair alternative to taking the examination or quiz that will be missed. Students must submit original documentation on University letterhead signed by the activity director, coach, or adviser detailing the specifics of the event in advance.”
The policy goes on to list specific requirements that our student-athletes must fulfill. The WCU administration as well as the Athletic Advisory Board strongly endorses this policy. Please refer to the catalog or this link to the webpage.
I ask that you consider this policy when our student-athletes come to you with conflicts involving your course and their responsibilities in the athletic (or other university) arena. Our student-athletes are to address their absence with you at the earliest possible time but please understand that often due to weather or last minute qualifying for playoffs, our student-athletes may have only a couple of days notice themselves. The spring term is especially problematic because inclement weather has a greater impact on spring sports versus fall competitions. Bad weather results in postponed games with rescheduling on short notice
I am aware that some of my colleagues take issue with this policy citing that our students are here to gain an education. That is true, but I submit that education is broader that what is learned in the classroom.
Furthermore, like faculty our student-athletes are here to do more than one thing. They are going to school and also participating in athletic competition, much like faculty who are here to teach, nurture their scholarship and provide service. If a department chair told a faculty member that he/she could not present a paper or give a performance because it conflicted with a day that they had teaching responsibilities we would be upset. The same can be said for our student-athletes. Please allow them the opportunity to grow and learn within their competitive venue.
Student-athletes are expected to attend classes when conflicting games have been cancelled. They are asked to consult with me if they cannot resolve a conflict and allow me to be their advocate. I do expect them to follow the specific requirements of the policy.
Please feel free to contact me if you have concerns or if the student-athlete is not abiding by the policy and specific requirements.
W. Craig Stevens, Ph.D.
NCAA D-II Faculty Athletics Representative
West Chester University
Approved by the Athletic Advisory Board – April 15, 2010