Student Athlete Handbook

    Section Five: Academics


      A primary philosophy of Intercollegiate Athletics is student first, athlete second. In order to succeed academically, you are encouraged to follow all academic policies and regulations and to take advantage of all academic services available through our department and the University.

      • NCAA Academic Regulations

        Minimum academic standards are governed by NCAA regulations. In order to be eligible for practice and competition, each athlete must comply with many standards, among which are the following:

        • BE REGISTERED FOR AT LEAST 12 HOURS AT ALL TIMES DURING THE SEMESTER. If you drop below 12 hours, you become immediately ineligible for practice and competition; if you receive an athletic scholarship, your aid is automatically canceled when you drop below 12 hours. If you practice and/or compete while registered for fewer than 12 hours, the NCAA requires that we declare you ineligible for competition. BEFORE MAKING A PROGRAM CHANGE (ADDING OR DROPPING A COURSE), EACH STUDENT-ATHLETE IS REQUIRED TO MEET WITH AN ATHLETIC ACADEMIC COORDINATOR (ARENA 118); failure to obtain approval from an academic coordinator may result in your athletic ineligibility for the following academic year.

          Individualized Learning Program (ILP) courses will not count towards full-time enrollment or satisfactory progress unless the student has obtained written approval from the Assistant Athletic Director for Student Services before enrolling in the course. NCAA rules prevent the athletic department from paying the program charge for ILP courses.

          Internet courses taken at SIUC or at any other institution will not count toward NCAA athletic eligibility.

        • Successfully complete an average of at least 24 semester hours toward a degree by the beginning of the student's next competitive season. Student-athletes must successfully complete a minimum of 18 hours (75%) during the academic year. A student-athlete may earn no more than six hours of credit (25%) in summer sessions toward satisfactory progress requirements. Eligibility for all student-athletes is determined at the beginning of the Fall Semester each year, with some exceptions.

        • Declare a major in a four-year program by the beginning of your 5th semester in school. If you fail to declare a four-year major by the first day of class in your 5th semester, you are immediately ineligible for practice and competition. BEFORE DECLARING OR CHANGING A MAJOR, A STUDENT-ATHLETE IS REQUIRED TO MEET WITH AN ATHLETIC ACADEMIC COORDINATOR.

        • Successfully complete at least 24 hours toward your major each year once you have officially declared a major. A student-athlete who is entering her/his third year of collegiate enrollment must complete successfully at least 25 percent of the course requirements in the student's specific degree program. A student-athlete entering her/his fourth year must complete at least 50 percent, and a student-athlete entering her/his fifth year must complete at least 75 percent, of the course requirements in the student's specific degree program. Waivers may be granted by the NCAA based upon a student's overall academic record.

        • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, i.e., at least a "C" average.

        • An SIUC policy that is more strict than the NCAA regulations is that a student-athlete must earn a minimum fall term gpa of 1.00 and 6 hours passed OR earn at least a 2.0 cumulative gpa by the end of fall term in order to be eligible to compete for the subsequent spring semester.

          A student-athlete may appeal this decision within 14 days of notification of the decision. The special appeals committee for this policy consists of the following: Athletic Director; Associate Athletic Director; Faculty Athletic Representative; an Academic Coordinator; Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee Representative; and an SIUC staff member (e.g., teacher, trainer, counselor) chosen by the student-athlete.

        • When an athlete fails to meet the NCAA satisfactory progress and gpa regulations, he/she becomes ineligible for competition. Athletic financial assistance may also be terminated for failure to meet minimum academic standards.

        • Summer sessions may be used to "make up" deficiencies. If the deficiency occurs as a result of one's gpa, one must correct the deficiency at SIUC. If the deficiency occurs as a result of an insufficient number of credit hours, course work may be taken at any university, college, or community college, provided that the courses and number of hours needed are transferable to SIUC. For example, two hours of credit at some colleges are worth only one hour when transferred to SIUC. NCAA rules require you to obtain written approval from an academic coordinator before registering for summer courses; failure to obtain approval from an academic coordinator could result in your athletic ineligibility for the following academic year.

      • SIUC Academic Policies

        All SIUC academic policies are published in the SIUC Undergraduate Catalogue. Some of the policies of particular interest to student-athletes include the following:

        • Repeated Courses--A course repeated due to an unsatisfactory initial grade can be counted only once in meeting the NCAA satisfactory progress requirements and only after it has been successfully completed. A "repeat" is defined as the subsequent enrollment in a course for which an evaluative grade (A, B, C, D, F) has been awarded. Only courses taken Summer 1996, and beyond will be subject to this policy. The "Repeat" (graded A, B, C, D, or F) will replace in gpa calculations the most recent prior course enrollment for that course which has an evaluative grade of A, B, C, D, or F.

        • Incomplete Grades--If you receive an incomplete in a course, you must complete the course requirements and be sure that the grade change is processed immediately. You do not re-register for a course in which you received an incomplete.

          An INC must be changed to a completed grade within a time period designated by the instructor but not to exceed one year from the close of the term in which the course was taken, or graduation, whichever occurs first. Failure to make-up an INC within the designated time period will result in a grade of F for that course.

        • WF Grades--A student who fails to attend class after the 10th week of the semester will receive a WF grade. If a student-athlete receives WF or some form of "Wxx" for all grades, the student will be declared ineligible for the entire semester. Thus, any athletic contests in which the student participated that semester will be forfeited.

          Student-athletes who receive WF grades for the semester, and who as a result do not meet the 12-Hour Requirement at the end of the semester, may be eligible to participate between terms only if they have registered as a full-time student for the next regular semester (Fall or Spring).

        • PR Grades--In some courses, such as English 101, you must earn at least a "C" in the course in order for the course to count toward a degree. If you receive a PR grade, you must re-register for the course and successfully complete the course within one year. If you fail to re-take the course and earn a "C" in one year, the PR grade will be changed to an "F".

        • Credit for Varsity Sports--Academic credit may be earned for participation in intercollegiate athletics. Student-athletes may register for 2 hours of credit after they have used at least one season of eligibility (participated against outside competition) in a varsity sport. A student may earn this credit only one time during her/his undergraduate career. This is a pass/fail course. In order to receive credit, you must first obtain a closed class card from an academic coordinator (Arena 118). You cannot register or receive credit for varsity sports without the academic coordinator's signature.

        • Participation in Athletic Events which Conflict with Graduation Ceremonies-- Scholarship athletes have a legal obligation to participate in conference and NCAA events that conflict with graduation. A student-athlete who does not fulfill obligations of her/his scholarship award will no longer be considered in good standing with SIUC's athletic program. Consequently, the coach has the right to do the following:

          • immediately dismiss the athlete from her/his team; and

          • choose not to recommend that individual for any team, conference, national, or international honors.
            For instance, the student-athlete would not be given consideration for All-Conference, All-Regional, or All-American accolades; nor would he/she be eligible for nomination by the coach to the SIUC Hall of Fame. Athletes have the option of appealing any departmental decision.

      • Policies Regarding Mid-Year Transfer Student-Athletes

        • The student-athlete should meet with an athletics academic coordinator during their first day on campus. This appointment should be made in advance by the appropriate coach. An appointment should also be made for international students who must complete CESL requirements.

        • The student-athlete should be officially admitted to SIUC prior to the beginning of classes. Student-athletes will not be admitted after the first week of classes.

        • The student-athlete's transfer evaluation(s) must be completed prior to the beginning of classes. Without this information, proper advisement cannot be given. The NCAA rules require a mid-year transfer to complete at least 12 progress hours (at least 9 during the spring semester) and achieve at least a 2.0 cumulative gpa by the beginning of the following fall semester to be certified eligible for competition.


      In keeping with the Intercollegiate Athletics philosophy of student first, athlete second, the educational experience for the student-athlete will be emphasized at all times. This policy reflects the student first philosophy, in that coaches should make every effort to minimize student-athlete absences from class and exams in scheduling athletic competitions.

      • Class Absences

        • When practice schedules conflict with class schedules, student-athletes are required to attend class. Student-athletes who must schedule classes during practice times shall have their class schedules approved by an academic coordinator.

        • Competitive scheduling should be conducted in a manner which minimizes the number of class absences. The number of contests scheduled on week-days and immediately preceding and immediately following official vacation periods should be as minimal as possible.

        • Every attempt should be made to schedule week-day departure times for away events as late in the day as possible so the majority of student-athletes will have completed their classes. In addition, game times for week-day home events should also be scheduled as late in the day as possible so the majority of student-athletes will have completed their classes.

        • Student-athletes who will be traveling to away competitions should be notified of their travel schedules at the beginning of each semester and should notify their instructors accordingly. Coaches whose travel rosters vary should inform student-athletes who will travel at least one week prior to the event, if possible. Student-athletes are expected to make up missed assignments prior to their departures for athletic events, subject to the discretion of their instructors. It should be noted that an instructor is not required to allow any student-athlete to make special arrangements for missed classes and assignments due to athletic-related absences.

        • Each head coach should submit a report of the number of classes missed by each student-athlete due to athletic competition and travel. The report should be submitted to the assistant director for student services with the coach's end-of-season report within one month of the final competition.

      • Contests During Final Exams

          Athletic contests should not be scheduled during the final examination period (one day prior to the first final examination until the completion of the final examination schedule) without prior written consent of the athletic director. Exceptions include contests scheduled by the conference which cannot be altered, conference championships, and NCAA championship competition. When such contests occur, student-athletes are required to meet with their instructors to request permission to take their exams at another time.


      The following objectives were formulated to measure academic success and to motivate individual student athletes and teams to perform to the best of their abilities in the classroom:

      • To achieve a departmental grade point average superior to the undergraduate student body grade point average in both Fall and Spring Semesters.

      • For at least 40 percent of the student-athletes to earn a 3.0 or above for a term average, for a cumulative average, or for both term and cumulative each semester.

      • To finish among the top three of all MVC institutions in the number of student athletes earning conference academic awards.

      • Using the NCAA adjusted graduation rate, at least 75 percent of the student-athletes who enter SIUC and who use four years of eligibility will graduate.

      • To retain 95 percent of the student-athletes academically.

      • To honor scholar athletes at selected athletic events.


      The Assistant Athletic Director for Student Services is charged with the overall responsibility of Academic Services. Two full-time Academic Coordinators and a Graduate Assistant are available to assist you with any academic question or concern without an appointment. Academic coordinators in athletics should not be confused with academic advisors in academic departments.

      • Required Meetings with Academic Coordinator

        STUDENT-ATHLETES MUST MEET WITH AN ACADEMIC COORDINATOR BEFORE ADDING OR DROPPING A COURSE AND BEFORE DECLARING OR CHANGING A MAJOR. All athletes are required to meet with an academic coordinator during Spring Semester to discuss progress toward a degree and to sign the Statement of Degree Progress form.

      • Progress Requests

        During the 6th and 12th weeks of each semester, progress requests are sent by the academic coordinators to all instructors of each student-athlete. As the instructors return reports of your attendance and academic performance, the reports are copied and forwarded to your coach who will then share the reports with you. Coaches have the option of monitoring your academic progress as often as three times during each semester in addition to the two grade checks by the academic coordinators.

      • Study Table

        Study Table is conducted on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. throughout each semester. (Students must attend daytime Study Table in consecutive two-hour time blocks). Coaches may also establish their own Study Tables in addition to the departmental Study Table. Student-athletes who are not required to attend Study Table are welcome to attend. A quiet study environment is guaranteed, and various tutors are available at the evening Study Table to provide immediate assistance. The following are Study Table Attendance Requirements:

        • Entering freshmen with an NCAA core gpa of 2.27 and above and new transfers with a cumulative transfer gpa of 2.27 and above (as calculated by SIUC) are required to attend a minimum of four hours per week.

        • Entering freshmen with an NCAA core gpa lower than 2.26 are required to attend a minimum of six hours per week.

        • Entering transfers with a cumulative transfer gpa lower than 2.26 are required to attend a minimum of six hours per week. Entering transfers with a cum transfer gpa below 2.0 are required to attend eight hours per week.

        • Continuing student-athletes with a cumulative gpa between 2.00 and 2.25 are required to attend a minimum of six hours per week.

        • Continuing student-athletes with a cumulative gpa of less than 2.00 are required to attend Study Table eight hours per week.

        • Entering freshmen student-athletes who are partial qualifiers or nonqualifiers are required to attend Study Table eight hours per week.

        • Time spent in the Library is not considered an acceptable substitute for Study Table time.

        • Disciplinary dismissal from Study Table is considered an unexcused absence.

        • Coaches may require student-athletes, other than those defined above, to attend Study Table.

          Sanctions for unexcused absences from Study Table are determined by each head coach.

          Excused absences include, but are not limited to, the following:

          • Documented medical excuse;

          • Family emergency;

          • Night classes; (however, if a student-athlete is required to attend Study Table six hours per week and he/she has a class on Monday evening, the student must attend Study Table on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).

          • Travel to athletic competition;

          • Participation in home athletic competition during the hours that Study Table is conducted, and;

          • Other reasons to be considered by the academic coordinators.

          In order for student-athletes to qualify for athletic aid for summer school and for aid upon completion of their athletic eligibility, class attendance and study table attendance will be considered.

      • Tutors

        Tutors are provided for all athletes upon request. Although tutors in general subject areas (math, biological science, physical science, English, etc.) are available at evening Study Table, student-athletes may also request a tutor for specific subject areas, such as design, marketing, accounting, etc. In many cases, the instructor of the course for which a student requests a tutor prefers to work one-on-one with that student. In order to request a tutor, simply stop by the office of an academic coordinator in the Arena. All tutors must be hired by an academic coordinator in order to receive reimbursement. Student-athletes may recommend tutors, but tutors cannot be paid unless first approved by an academic coordinator. Tutors can only help those who attend class regularly and who seek assistance in time for the assistance to make a difference.

      • Early Academic Advisement Appointments

        Although SIUC permits no special student groups to register early for classes, student-athletes have the opportunity to meet with their academic advisors earlier than the general student body. You will be notified by academic coordinators of the dates for which early academic advisement appointments may be made. You must obtain a form from your coach or an academic coordinator in order to schedule an early appointment with your academic advisor. It is important that you are advised early and register at the earliest possible date to ensure that you get into the proper classes, that your course schedule does not conflict with practices, and that you are in compliance with NCAA regulations.

      • Career Development

        Students who want assistance in choosing a major and/or a career should see an academic coordinator. The coordinator may then refer the student to a specific person at the University Career Services Center in Woody Hall B204. Professional career counselors can assist students in classifying interests, aptitude, and achievement factors. The career information library can also provide students with materials about career fields, specific job opportunities, and job search techniques.

      • Community Service

        Student-athletes are encouraged to participate in the Saluki "Extend a Paw" Program. The program is designed to provide community service opportunities in the greater Carbondale area. Examples include: visiting local nursing homes, working at the Special Olympics, and reading books to kindergarten students. Volunteer experiences and placements are coordinated by the Academic Coordinators Office.

      • Computer Laboratories

        A study room (SIUC Arena 118Q), equipped with computers for student-athlete use, is maintained by the Academic Coordinators Office. In addition, several reference books (i.e., dictionaries, writing style manuals, etc.) are available. The Resource Room is open from 8:00 a.m.4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays when the University is closed. Intercollegiate Athletics also has exclusive use of a computer lab in the Applied Sciences and Arts Building (Room 112A) across the street from the Arena Monday through Thursday from 7:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m.

      • Laptop Computers

        The athletic department has two laptop computers with the most recent educational software for student-athlete use. Listed below are the rules for use of laptop computers.

        • Laptops must be checked out by the coach for the student-athlete(s) in their sport.

        • Laptops will be checked out on a first-come basis by student-athletes who qualify for the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). No team may check out two computers if another team has requested one.

        • If no student who qualifies for the SAF requests a laptop, any eligible student- athlete may request one through his/her coach.

        • Since computers are available throughout campus, the primary use of laptops will be for road trips. Another priority is the case of a verified medical illness approved by an SIUC athletic trainer.

        • Loss or breakage of the laptop is the responsibility of the team causing the loss or the damage.

        • Requests must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the trip on which the computer is needed, but no sooner than the Monday prior to the trip.

        • All requests, checkouts, and returns should be made through Susan Smith in the Ticket Office

      • Recognition/Information Display Case

        A display case, maintained by the Academic Coordinators Office, is located opposite the training room entrance in the SIUC Arena. Student-athletes and teams are recognized for academic performance (e.g., earning a 3.0 grade point average, being named academic all-conference, highest team grade point average, etc.). In addition, important Athletic Department and/or SIUC information will be posted, such as final exam schedules, pre-advisement dates, workshop dates, etc.


      Student-athletes have the opportunity to earn academic recognition at the departmental, conference, and national levels.

      • Departmental Academic Awards

        • Team GPA Academic Excellence Award

          Each semester the men's and women's teams with the highest term grade point averages are recognized. The names of the teams and their gpa's are engraved on plaques in the Arena.

        • Academic Coordinators Special Recognition Award

          Each year a male and female student-athlete are awarded the Special Recognition Award for extraordinary commitment to their academic responsibilities. Grade point average is not the most important criterion. Dedication to study schedules, tutoring sessions, and appointments with the Academic Coordinators Office are considered. A short biography about the recipients is located in the Academic Coordinators display case.

      • Conference Academic Awards

        • The Missouri Valley Conference recognizes student-athletes for academic achievement. Awards are based upon the following criteria:

          • Conference Honor Roll--student-athletes who earn a minimum 3.20 term gpa.

          • Commissioner's Academic Excellence Award--the criteria for this award include:

            • Student-athletes must have achieved a 3.5 gpa in each of the previous two semesters.

            • Student-athletes must have achieved a minimum 3.2 cumulative gpa.

            • Student-athletes must have participated in athletics, but not necessarily as a letter winner.

            • Freshmen are not eligible.

          • President's Council Academic Excellence Award--Student-athletes who have maintained a minimum 3.80 cumulative gpa and have participated in athletics a minimum of two years (including the senior year). Although the student need not be a letter winner, he/she must be within l8 hours of graduation at the time the award is to be received.

      • University Academic Awards

        • SIUC presents several academic awards, many of which include a cash award, to deserving students each spring during the Honors Day ceremony. All academic cash awards received by a student-athlete are subject to NCAA regulations and must be approved by the athletics department before the athlete can receive the cash award.

      • NCAA and MVC Postgraduate Scholarships

        • The NCAA annually awards 174 postgraduate scholarships of $5,000 each.

          In order to qualify for an award a student-athlete must have:

          • a minimum cumulative gpa of 3.0/4.0;

          • performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the student's sport;

          • signified the intention to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time graduate student;

          • conducted themselves, both on and off the field, in a manner that has brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution, intercollegiate athletics, and the ideals and objectives of American higher education; and

          • participated in campus activities other than academic and athletic in which the student-athlete has had the opportunity to demonstrate qualities of leadership and serve as an example to fellow students.

        • MVC Postgraduate Scholarship

          The Missouri Valley Conference also awards two $3,000 postgraduate scholarships to one male and one female student-athlete at an MVC institution. The criteria for the award are very similar to the NCAA postgraduate scholarship; however, the student-athlete must have been accepted at a graduate or professional school before he/she may apply for the scholarship.


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