Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Summit highlights athletic couseling, advising

By Jeanne Brunson

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 35 - July 16, 1998

The second annual university Athletic Department summit on student-athlete academic success highlighted the various sources of counseling and advising available to student athletes.
"The Athletic Academic Advising Office has seen success with its program of academic advising for student athletes," said Jerry Via, coordinator of athletic academic advising. Via reported favorable results of the new academic-eligibility policy on last year's entering freshmen and transfers, which requires that all students, including student athletes, maintain an overall 2.0 QCA.
The summit, held June 24 in Cassell Coliseum, highlighted the programs and policies the Athletic Department implemented this past year that have proven successful for Tech's student athletes in their academic endeavors.
Tim Parker, assistant athletic director for compliance, discussed the effect of the new computer requirement for incoming students on the athletic department. He explained that NCAA rules will not allow the university to buy computers for student athletes. "The athletic department is looking into buying computers that they will loan to student athletes on an `issuance-and-retrieval' system," Parker said.
A panel of experts from different departments at Tech addressed matters regarding student athletes that concern coaches. Panel members included Susan Angle, assistant dean of students in the Services for Students with Disabilities Office; Kerry Redican, president of the Faculty Senate; Ellie Sturgis, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Gary Bennett, from the University Counseling Center.
"The most common complaint [of student athletes seeking counseling] is stress or burnout because the student athlete has two roles to play on campus: one as a student, and one as an athlete," Bennett said.
The afternoon session of the summit included a student panel that discussed time management, class/practice conflicts, communications with professors, adjustments for student athletes who are away from home for the first time, and athletic stereotyping. Members of this panel included Megan Barnes, Brian Mauro, Dwight Vick, Lisa Witherspoon, and Melissa Wagner.
Vick, a member of the football team, said, "The most important thing for a student athlete is to establish a relationship with his or her professors. Conversely, the professors should be willing to talk with the student athlete and recognize his or her special situation. "
Witherspoon, a member of the women's basketball team, explained how practices and away games impact class time. She said student athletes must learn time management and be willing to sacrifice personal time to fit everything into their schedules. "Structure is what keeps the student athlete out of trouble," Witherspoon said.
Senior Vice President and Provost Peggy S. Meszaros closed the summit by expressing her gratitude for the enlightening presentations and discussions. She said she hoped more professors who have a direct impact on student athletes would be included in future summits. After adjournment, a tour of the new, as well as the old, athletic facilities was offered by the athletic advising staff.