Information on Student-Athlete Absences


In my role as NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, I would like to bring to your attention the West Chester University policy regarding excused absences for a University-sanctioned event and how it impacts student-athletes in your class.

This policy deals with any students who must miss class due to a University approved event such as competitive contests. For student-athletes this policy pertains only to competitions, it does not cover practices. It is expected that student-athletes will not miss class time for practice. The excused absence does include the time of the competition and also the travel time. However, if a bus departure time is for 12 noon and your class ends at 11:50 am, then the student should be in class until 11:50. Feel free to contact me if you are confronted with transgressions by the student-athlete.

The policy as stated in the University’s undergraduate catalog indicates:

Date Proposed:           September 29, 2016
Date Recommended by CAPC:     September 29, 2016
Date Approved by Provost:      November 9, 2016

    1. Students participating in University-sanctioned events such as, but not limited to, the Marching Band and NCAA athletic events, will be granted an excused absence(s) by the respective faculty members for class periods missed. Students will be granted the privilege of taking, at an alternative time to be determined by the professor, scheduled examinations or quizzes that will be missed. The professor will designate such times prior to the event and the make-up should be as soon as possible following the missed class. Professors can provide a fair alternative to taking the examination or quiz that will be missed. Students must recognize that some activities cannot be directly made up (e.g., a laboratory, group presentation, off-campus experience), and faculty will arrange a fair alternative to the missed work. Students must submit original documentation on University letterhead signed by the activity director, coach, or adviser detailing the specifics of the event in advance. Specific requirements include the following:
      1. Responsibility for meeting academic requirements rests with the student.
      2. Students are expected to notify their professors as soon as they know they will be missing class due to a University-sanctioned event.
      3. Students are expected to complete the work requirement for each class and turn in assignments due on days of the event prior to their due dates unless other arrangements are made with the professor.
      4. If a scheduled event is postponed or canceled, the student is expected to go to class.
      5. Students are not excused from classes for practice on nonevent days.

The following are specifics for the student athlete:

      1. The student athlete is expected, where possible, to schedule classes on days and at hours that do not conflict with athletic schedules.
      2. Athletes are not excused from classes for practice or training-room treatment on nongame days.

View the full Student Absence Policy

The policy goes on to list specific requirements that our student-athletes must fulfill. The WCU administration as well as the Athletic Advisory Board strongly endorses this policy.   Please refer to the catalog or this link to the webpage.

I ask that you consider this policy when our student-athletes come to you with conflicts involving your course and their responsibilities in the athletic (or other university) arena. Our student-athletes are to address their absence with you at the earliest possible time but please understand that often due to weather  or last minute qualifying for playoffs, our student-athletes may have only a couple of days notice themselves. The spring term is especially problematic because inclement weather has a greater impact on spring sports versus fall competitions. Bad weather results in postponed games with rescheduling on short notice

I am aware that some of my colleagues take issue with this policy citing that our students are here to gain an education. That is true, but I submit that education is broader that what is learned in the classroom.

Furthermore, like faculty our student-athletes are here to do more than one thing. They are going to school and also participating in athletic competition, much like faculty who are here to teach, nurture their scholarship and provide service. If a department chair told a faculty member that he/she could not present a paper or give a performance because it conflicted with a day that they had teaching responsibilities we would be upset. The same can be said for our student-athletes. Please allow them the opportunity to grow and learn within their competitive venue.

Student-athletes are expected to attend classes when conflicting games have been cancelled. They are asked to consult with me if they cannot resolve a conflict and allow me to be their advocate. I do expect them to follow the specific requirements of the policy.

Please feel free to contact me if you have concerns or if the student-athlete is not abiding by the policy and specific requirements.

Warm regards,

W. Craig Stevens, Ph.D.
NCAA D-II Faculty Athletics Representative
West Chester University

Approved by the Athletic Advisory Board – April 15, 2010

Back to top of page.