Center puts ‘student’ back in student athlete

For the student athlete, the pressures to produce on the field and in the classroom are all too real. The Academic Learning Center for Athletes bridges the gap between the classroom and the playing field.

The job of keeping football student athletes cleared begins at the onset of each term. That is the message Director of Compliance Jonathan Evans pointed out.

Evans said that the key is making sure the courses student athletes select apply. This ensures that they move toward gaining their degrees in a timely fashion.

But if football student athletes struggle with course work and grades, they can turn to the ACLA for help.

Going to study hall is not an option for freshmen, transfers, and student athletes with a gpa of 2.5 or lower.

The ACLA study hall is also equipped with computers.

Tutors from all areas of study can even be obtained if need be.

“Although some football student athletes deal with classroom trouble, the ALCA has been a success,” Evans said.

While there has been a program to tutor student athletes for about the past six years, the ALCA has been in place only about two years.

“A complete approach to the athlete.” That’s the goal of the ALCA coordinator, Daryl Stewart.

“The student athlete’s season doesn’t end until graduation,” Stewart said.

This is the same advice he gives student athletes who make use of the ALCA.

“Many student athletes fall through the cracks because they’re poorly advised,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, part of the job of the ALCA and its staff is to help the student athlete better “self-assess themselves.”

Although the ALCA’s study hall is in place, but not all football student athletes make use of it.

Sanctions are in place for student athletes who don’t attend these study hall sessions. Sanctions range from letters that express sorrow to physical drills.

Speaking about the pluses of the ALCA and its study hall program is student athlete Fletcher Williams. Williams, a right tackle for the Rattlers, credits much of his classroom success to the ALCA.

“It’s a good program, it’s crucial to the student athlete’s being prepared,” said the 20-year-old Pensacola native.

A computer information systems student, Williams said the hours that the ALCA is open helps too.

“Football players are tired after practice, but they still have a resource they can turn to,” Williams said.