Student-Athletes Reprimanded in Listserv

ACE listserv
PHOTO BY GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM
PHOTO BY GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM

Academic College Enhancement is a place for peaceful study on campus. Not for visiting, playing music or hoverboarding.

In Listservs to athletes, head coaches and assistant coaches, North Dakota State’s Athletic Academics informed senders of reports of unruly behavior at ACE, where student-athletes are required to study for a number of hours each week. The email threatened to ban student-athletes from ACE’s computer cluster if disruptive behavior continues.

“Student athletes, we have received multiple complaints of unruly behavior in the computer cluster in ACE — this is completely unacceptable. If this behavior continues, all student-athletes will be banned from using the computer cluster,” Kelsey Stahl, Athletic Academics assistant director, said in the Oct. 7 email to Bison Women Athletes. “Also you may not (sic) long-board, hover craft, skateboard, rollerblades, etc. in ACE.”

Her perspective 

A female student-athlete, who wished to remain anonymous, said she feels bad for the non-athletes who study at ACE.

About 100 student-athletes swamp ACE at night, she said, especially between 6 and 10 p.m. when practices finish, and some athletes do anything but studying.

“I never go in the computer cluster because it’s always so busy in there, and it’s really loud,” the athlete said. “ACE is just a small place in general, and if you put a bunch of people in there, especially athletes after our day – all they want to do is talk and not do homework.”

She added the back study space in ACE is also an area where student-athletes talk loudly and listen to music while others try to study.

Football players and male athletes are typically the ones disrupting others, she said.

“I’m not saying that the female athletes are not instigating it, but the ones that I have seen that have been the loudest have been the male athletes,” she said. 

She added she has also seen “those stupid hoverboards” being used, and that many student-athletes would rather nap between classes than attend ACE in the daytime.

“I feel bad for regular students who go in there and use it because (student-athletes) disrupt them and they’re not required to be there. … It sucks for them,” she said.

The email 

The Listserv, Stahl said, has been “really effective in addressing” the disruptions of student study at ACE in the three weeks after it was sent.

“We have not had issues, no one’s riding their boards around, so that’s great,” she said.

The email was sent to all athletes and coaches so that all parties would be aware of the problem, Stahl added.

Revoking student-athletes’ computer cluster privileges if further reports of “unruly behavior” continue would be “a discussion” among Athletics Academics, ACE and NDSU Athletics, she said.

“If it continued to be an issue, that it was disrupting others from learning, we would address it appropriately because that’s our whole goal here, is to create an environment that is conducive to learning and using time wisely,” Stahl said.

The issue was originally brought to her attention by ACE student supervisors reporting loud evening hours in the study center’s computer cluster and students using hoverboards, a type of self-balancing scooter, in the hallways.

While she said most student-athletes visit ACE at night to clinch their required hours, Stahl said “It is busier at night, but not specifically that they only come at night. We often see them at times throughout the day.”

Stahl added the use of hoverboards was a safety concern, but added any new transportation technology, like Heelys or longboards, has brought the same problem.

Betsy Carter, learning services coordinator for Student Success Programs, said many student groups utilize ACE, from Greek life to UNIV 189 students.

“As a study center at ACE … our main goal is to be as effective as possible and how we do that is by minimizing distractions and making sure it’s a quiet environment for everyone,” she said.

“It wouldn’t be just student-athletes who would be asked to leave the computer cluster if noise and hoverboards continued,” Stahl said.

Carter added that ACE posts green signs detailing the study center’s rules, and said, “If you don’t use (privileges) properly, unfortunately (they) will no longer be available.”

SHAC study 

The Sanford Health Athletics Complex, slated for completion in fall 2016, will include a study space for student-athletes.

“Given the amount of time that student-athletes spend in the athletic facilities for practice, competition, strength training, rehabilitation and injury prevention, adding academic services under the same roof made a lot of sense in terms of access and efficiency,” athletics director Matt Larsen said in an email. “Academic success is paramount to our team’s success, so having the academic center for athletes as the central hub of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex is both symbolic and purposeful.”

Tutoring will remain at ACE, Stahl said, adding that “some (student-athletes) really like it here.” Athletic Academics will move to the SHAC, however.

ACE’s location is convenient for freshman athletes living in the high-rise residence halls, she said. Student-athletes will not be restricted to where they can study.

She said all freshman athletes must attend eight weekly hours at ACE; upperclassmen’s study hours are determined on a case-by-case basis with coaches if they are below a 3.0. Team departments’ study hours vary, she added.

Student-athletes must also meet weekly with academic advisors, the athlete said, to check grades and go over tests.

Should a student-athlete miss out on ACE hours, their whole team can be potentially punished.

“I don’t know what other teams do, but we have a team punishment, (the whole team) for one person,” she said.

Stahl said in general, student-athletes utilize ACE’s facilities “often and appropriately,” citing a cumulative GPA of over 3.0 for student-athletes.

The athlete said she has to clinch at least two hours a week, but can only study alone in a private room at ACE.

“There’s a certain time at night that you kinda have to get there soon enough to get a single room or you’re gonna be screwed,” she said.

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