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Academic center for student-athletes part of library renovation
February 13, 2019
In an attempt to support student-athletes in their studies, the athletic department plans to build an athletic academic center where student-athletes can receive tutoring and have study spaces.
While Nicholls State University athletic teams are fighting to win during their seasons, the student-athletes still have to keep up with their studies.
Athletics Director Matt Roan said that the athletic department has gained support from Jay Clune, Nicholls president, to build a study hall for athletes as part of the renovation of the library.
“We are not 100 percent [about the location], but Dr. Clune has been supportive, and I would like to move forward to create a center for student-athlete academic success,” Roan said. “As part of the overall renovation of the library, it is allowing us the space that has the infrastructure and the staffing and the resources on different floors and around us to maximize our academic success.”
Student-athletes have a tight schedule that makes it important for them to have the resources, as well as space, that can help them academically.
“[Student athletes] have 20 hours a week that they are committing for practice and weights and all those sorts of things. We really don’t have that space where we could have tutoring, that’s dedicated for us, mentoring, group study spaces, larger study spaces together,” Roan said.
Another factor is the financial benefits of having higher academic success. A new academic-based distribution is being established next spring, which means that, by taking athletic academics seriously, the athletic department has a chance of gaining more financial support.
“There is an academic-based distribution that will be coming online next spring that will reward the institutions with academic success, so for us, if we have that expectation, we have to match that input,” Roan said.
Roosa Hurmerinta, junior soccer player from Turku, Finland, said that it is important to have the right places to study in order to keep grades up and stay eligible to play, especially with the different time schedules that athletes can have.
“It is important for us to keep our GPAs high enough in order to stay eligible,” Hurmerinta said. “I think it is because athletes have different times compared to the normal student, so you need to have a place with less people around you where you get to focus better.”
Hurmerinta also said she comes from a team with last year’s highest overall GPA for any sports team at Nicholls, and part of that success might have to do with having options such as the library.
Now knowing that a new academic study hall for athletes is coming, “I would definitely like to go,” Hurmerinta said.
Sophomore tennis player Dylan Loru, a native of Sydney, New South Wales, said that he has had a lot of success using the freshman seminar, a place where freshman athletes meet twice a week in order to keep up with their studies.
“I think that study halls are a great resource to use as an athlete because you have a place where you really can focus on your homework. You know, also, it is a place where you can study together with friends,” Loru said.
Roan said that at the end of the day, academic success is the main goal.
“Yes, we enjoy wins. Yes, we like our students to give back to the community, but the most important thing that we can do as a department is to help our student-athletes change his or her life because they came here to get a degree, and we will commit any resource possible to make that happen,” Roan said.