Just as sports have their rules, the academics of student athletes are closely regulated.
According to Rebecca Whetstone, academic coordinator of Troy University athletics, student athletes have to abide by both NCAA standards for athletes and the regulations of Troy University that apply to all students.
The NCAA regulation states that in Division I institutions, such as Troy, student athletes must complete 40 percent of the coursework required for a degree by the end of their second year, 60 percent by the end of their third year and 80 percent by the end of their fourth year.
The NCAA allows student athletes five years to graduate while receiving financial aid for athletics . All Division I student-athletes must earn at least six credit hours each term to be eligible for the following term.
Moreover, student athletes are also subject to the Academic Progress Rate.
APR is a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete who receives athletic financial aid. Each term, a student-athlete earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000.
According to the NCAA database, during the academic year 2011-2012, all Troy teams earned more than 940 points except for football (921) and men’s basketball (937). To participate in 2014-2015 championships, teams must earn a 940 average over the most recent two years. Penalties are decided on a case-by-case basic by NCAA Committee on Infractions.
In addition to NCAA standards, student athletes have to follow institutional regulations. To be qualified as a student in good standing with Troy University, an athlete must meet a minimum grade-point average of 2.0 and maintain a minimum of 12 credit hours. This requirement is applicable to all Troy students.
Institution regulations overwrite NCAA standards in cases where the two conflict, Whetstone said.
“Besides the APR and the progress towards degree,” Whetstone said, “student athletes have to follow the same academic standards stated in the Troy catalog.”
Student athletes generally perform academically better than nonathlete students, said Dr. Sergey Belyi, Troy University math professor.
“They are more disciplined,” Belyi said. “I would say 70 percent of them are really good students.”
John Patton, adjunct professor in the theater and dance department, said he agrees.
“Because sport is a time-consuming commitment, student athletes seem to know how to manage time since high school,” Patton said.
Patton said he had in his speech class last semester four football players who were four of his best students in the class. At the same time he taught Introduction to Drama another football player who never did anything.
“He ended up with a D,” Patton said. “You have to work really hard to get a D in that class. But to me 1 out of 5 is good odds.”
Troy’s six-year graduation rate is 34.7% on collegeresults.org, whereas Troy student athletes’ graduation success rate on average of all sports is 75.5% in the academic year 2012-2013, for students enrolling in 2006, according to NCAA database.
In order to help student athletes with their classes, Troy University provides them with extra support such as degree planning, class schedule and optional tutoring, according to Whetstone. Student athletes also have study hall hours enforced by their coaches.
“To monitor the academic progress of student athletes, we have an online program called Grade First to enable instructors to post grades and comments on the students,” Whetstone said. “The report form comes out once a month, but we cannot force respond from an instructor.”
Sam Lebbie, a criminal justice freshman from Washington D.C. said he had found the student services beneficial to his academics.
Lebbie came to Troy on probation due to low grade in high school grade. He made a 2.3 grade point average his first semester at Troy.
“I’m having around a 2.5 right now,” said Libby. “I think (the athletics student services) are good, I think they are doing what they supposed to.
Lebbie is currently taking tutor sections in history, which he failed last semester.