Viking athletes and coaches have mixed reactions to the time athletes are required to spend in the LAC.
“I believe that our academic resources that we offer our students is what makes us one of the top community colleges,” said Justin Hoyt, interim athletic director. “The LAC is a great resource for our student athletes to utilize to ensure academic success. Academics always come first in our athletic department and we hold our student athletes to a high standard.”
Athletes are required maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher if they want to play on any Vikings sports team. The college created the START program to help athletes keep up on their studies.
The number of hours athletes are required to spend in the LAC, library or with a tutor depends on several factors, including individual coach’s standards and the players’ academic status. Generally, the minimum amount of time is three hours per week.
Football head coach Michael Mueling, who is also the athletic academic coordinator, requires that his players log six hours per week either in the library or CAE. Mueling’s players also have the option to attend one of the sessions led by an academic coach.
Robert Coleman, the women’s basketball coach, decided to begin the year by having his players put in five hours a week and is going to re-evaluate the number of hours required after midterm grades are out.
“I have my players do a minimum of five hours a week in the library. I really like the system, and I think it’s a great way to keep the students occupied and on track,” said baseball head coach Alex Jurczynski.
There are many players who believe that the mandatory study time is a good thing, such as Molly Gruss, a midfielder and goalie for the women’s soccer team.
“I think it’s the coach’s job to know how their players are doing in school,” she said. “I think some people need that 10-hour minimum so that they have a goal they know they have to meet, so that flat amount of hours is a good thing.”
However, there are also players who believe that the required study time is unnecessary. “I think that if [a player] has a 4.0 GPA and they get all their work done, then there is really no point. It should only be for people who have a certain GPA,” said Brien Hollowood, a sophomore pitcher on the Vikings baseball team.
Jared Bowman, another member of the baseball team, also believes the program to be needless. “I think we should already be academically good enough to play sports here.”
In the past student, athletes have tried to cheat the system. There were players who would take their time sheets, leave the library and not study. These players were no longer allowed to play once their coaches found out.
“If I notice someone not working on schoolwork, I won’t sign their timesheet,” said Don Frament, a learning strategies specialist who is completely behind the START program. “It’s an absolute good faith policy that you tell me that you’re studying.”