Academic support: the silent helper | The Bona Venture

From the student newspaper at St. Bonaventure University.


It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase, “student-athletes are students first.” The office of athletic academic support exists for that very reason.

Located in the basement of the Reilly Center in 019 and in the northwest corner, academic support can be overlooked due to its low-traffic location. However, Heather McDivitt, assistant athletic director for academic support and student services, sees the major role her office can play in aiding student-athletes.

“Our job is to support the work that the faculty are doing and keep track of eligibility concerns,” McDivitt said. “The NCAA has certain minimum standards of degrees completed, GPA, percentage of the degree as juniors and seniors, so our job is to make sure that [student-athletes] are on track university-wise and athletic-wise.”

An additional function of academic support is assisting student-athletes with registration. While McDivitt and Joel Rosencrance, academic coordinator for men’s and women’s basketball, are academic support, they are not advisors. They assist with finding classes and building a schedule to work around practice times and in-season needs.

“We try to work with the registrar when they’re registering incoming students that are athletes,” McDivitt said. “If we know about soccer players and their travel schedule, we might try to avoid evening classes or late Wednesday and Friday afternoon classes. The divers have to practice during lunch break because the men’s and women’s [swim team] have the pool in the morning and the afternoon. I work with the registrar to serve as the link so the registrar can make them a schedule that will lead to academic success.”

The main function of academic support that student-athletes typically see is during study hall hours. The NCAA requires study hall for student-athletes, but St. Bonaventure allows coaches to individually decide how many hours per week.

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