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Year-end Report 2010 Print E-mail

Final Report of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee                       2009-2010



The 2009-2010 Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) worked to serve as a liaison between the Athletic Department, student-athletes, and faculty.  It consisted of the following members: William Sharbrough, (Faculty Athletics Representative), Linda Schoonmaker, Margaret Francel, Jennifer Speelman, (Chair), George Rudolph, Tim Hanchon, and Will Johnson.  The committee met three times during the school year.


The first meeting dealt primarily with the Memo regarding revision of student advising policy submitted to the committee by cadet student athletes in June 2009.


The Memo read as follows:


To:            Faculty Athletic Committee

From:        Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

CC:           Kelly Simpson, Todd Lair

Date:         7/9/2010

Re:            Student Advising

To Whom It May Concern,


Academic advising for student athletes has been an issue for some time due to a lack of standardized procedures. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee, furthermore known as SAAC, has collaborated with the Faculty Advisory Committee in creating a solution to this problem. We have identified problems for students and faculty with the current system that is in place. We have also proposed new procedures and included the benefits from the changes. Please be advised, the SAAC represents the majority interest of all Cadet Student Athletes at The Citadel.


I.                   Problems for Cadet Student Athletes

a.       Availability: We are strongly encouraged by coaches to load our morning schedules with all of our classes to ensure we will be free to get to practice in time after lunch. For this reason our only free time is at night.

1.      Morning full with academic schedule

2.      Afternoon full with Athletic practice

b.      Personal relationship:  Advisors are difficult to get to know on a personal level and, conversely, do not know much about their Cadet Student Athletes. This is a person who could assist them most with their undergraduate career as well as postgraduate career.

c.       Time Efficiency: We are commonly wasting time waiting in line to see advisor.


II.                Problems for Professors/Advisors

a.       Communication: The current unorganized system has caused a lack of necessary communication between advisors and students.

b.      Time Efficiency: Having long lines of students means wasted time for professors.


III.             Proposal


Standardized method of academic advising for all majors: This practice is currently used in the School of Education with positive results from both Students and Faculty. The standards are as follows:


a.       One academic advisor for each class: The advisor would stay with this class until they would no longer need academic advising as cadets (the second semester of their senior year). This has many advantages:

1.      This develops personal relationships between the faculty and the student as he/she progresses through school.

2.      This gives a better chance for requirements for receiving the ring and diploma are less likely to be overlooked. Members of the faculty know their cadets personally and follow their growing transcript.

3.      If necessary, an additional advisor can be assigned to assist with larger majors.

4.      If desired, once an academic advisor has met with his/her assigned class for the freshmen, sophomore, junior, and first semester of senior year, the professor will have one semester (senior class’ second semester) and a full academic year following their graduation without being assigned a class.

b.      Each major will meet 6-9PM one night a semester for the pre-registration period. These times will be posted well ahead of the meeting and put on the academic calendar. This has the following advantages:

1.      All athletes will be taken care of in one night for that particular major

2.      Kelly Simpson, Todd Lair, Coaches, and Team Captains can assist the advisors in making sure that all athletes have met with their professor


IV.             Benefits


This method of advising has the following benefits:

1.      Ensure that all student athletes are properly meeting with their academic advisors.

2.      There would be better communication and personal relationships with academic advisors would improve students’ undergraduate and postgraduate careers.

3.      This could give faculty members a chance to have a deserved break from advising.

4.      This would make both sides use of time more efficient.


We hope you strongly consider this proposal. As it has been noted, these changes will help both student-athletes and faculty advisors. We look forward to conversation on this topic in hopes that it can improve for all parties involved.



George Rudolph forwarded the Memo to various department chairs for feedback during the summer.  The consensus from Department Chairs was that they were not in favor of changing the present system of advising cadet student athletes. They did not see the need for assigning a single faculty member to all student athletes within the major nor were they in favor of meeting with students in the evening of registration week.


The committee then voted on whether to send the Memo regarding revision of student advising policy to the Faculty Council with the committee’s support; to send the Memo to Faculty Council without the committee’s support; or to return the Memo to the Athletic Department with other recommendations for enhancing the cadet student athlete advising experience. The committee voted unanimously to return the Memo to the Athletic Department with other recommendations.


Addition discussion continued on ways to enhance the advising experience for both student athletes and faculty advisors. In particular, it was proposed that NCAA Academic Regulations and Requirements be sent to ALL faculty advisors



The second meeting dealt primary with an update on The Citadel’s student athletes by Todd Lair, Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance and Academics.  Todd Lair proceeded to highlight the accomplishments of our student athletes for the 2008-2009 academic year.  In the academic highlights, he emphasized the athlete’s GPA  (broken down by individual sport), the graduation success rate (broken down by individual sport), and the total number of student athletes who received a 4.0, Dean’s List Honors, and/or Gold Stars.


Todd Lair also highlighted specific regulations regarding student athletes. For a student to meet NCAA Eligibility, he/she must earn a minimum of 18 credit hours during the Fall/Spring Semesters and a total of 24 credit hours including summer school credit. Todd pointed out that the NCAA and Citadel differed as to when the academic clock started for the first year student athletes. NCAA regulations allowed a student to count credit hours taken the summer before their freshman year, but The Citadel did not. In addition, students must also maintain certain GPAs to compete.


The final meeting of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) was primarily an opportunity for the committee to talk with student representatives and Larry Leckonby, Athletic Director at The Citadel.  Larry Leckonby wanted to complement the student athletes and remarked that the school had just finished their finest winter season in the history of the school.  As examples he mentioned the accomplishments of the wrestling team, track & field team, rifle team, and basketball team.  He also cited the fact that 10 Citadel Sports Programs had higher graduation rates than any other SoCon Teams and handed out statistics regarding 2009 Fall Term GPA for student athletes.


Next, the student representatives were asked to introduce themselves, give an overview of their season, and to take the faculty through a typical day as a student athlete.  Jimmy Harris talked about the men’s track & field team, Tatum Jestila and Blaine McAllister talked about the volleyball team, Caitlyn Lees talked about the women’s track & field team, Derek Royster talked about the wrestling team, and Angela Foyt talked about the soccer team.  The athletes emphasized the fact that even when their sport was not in season, they were still required to do conditioning and strength training.


Of major concern for students, administrators, and faculty was the need to delay fall course registration due to the implementation of the new Banner Registration System.  In previous years this was done in April, before students left campus, but this year registration will not begin until June.  This was discussed at some length.  Many administrators were worried if student athletes did not register on time, they would be closed out of morning classes, which they are required to take to because of practice schedules.  Faculty members strongly urged student athletes to meet with their faculty advisors before leaving for the summer and to work out a plan that would enable them to register online at home in June as well as contact the faculty member over the summer should any problems arise.


Respectfully submitted,


Jennifer Speelman, Chair