IAC Minutes 11-19-15


Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Meeting
Wednesday, November 19, 2015
1:00 – 2:30 pm
Jaqua Academic Center, 2nd floor classroom

Present: Andy Karduna, Ben Hansen, Chris Sinclair, Elizabeth Skowron, Anita Weiss, Merle Weiner, David Schuman, Laura Leete, Lisa Levitt, Chasmodai “Chas” Cassidy, Shawn Stevenson, Andrew Dunn.

Guests: Steve Stolp, Jennie Leander, Jeanene Gray, Shirley Brabham, Jennifer Jackson, Sara Wells, Nick Lougee, Braden Eggert, Kurt Willcox

Welcome and Introductions: Chair

Chair Andy Karduna called the meeting to order at 1:05 pm. Members and guests introduced themselves.

Review and approval of minutes from last meeting

There were no changes or corrections. Minutes were approved as posted.

Chair Report – update on communications with Athletic Department

Chair Karduna read part of an email he received from DIA Director Rob Mullens to ensure that he was accurately portraying Mullens’ approach to the IAC. Mullens indicated that DIA staff are open to considering attending IAC meetings if the meetings can be respectful and productive. Karduna said that Mullens is not opposed to answering tough questions; what he wants is to ensure that there is a respectful tone to committee inquiries.

Several committee members said they would like DIA administrators and student athletes to attend IAC meetings, because they would provide much needed information and help the committee be more productive. One member asked if the presence of DIA administrators would impact the ability of student athletes to freely participate.

Chair Karduna explained that IAC meetings, like those of nearly all Senate committees are open as a result of legislation passed by the University Senate in 2013, so anyone who chooses to has the opportunity to attend. He noted, though, that the IAC has the ability to limit participation to committee members in certain circumstances, such as when its discussion of academic progress or graduation rates would potentially disclose information about individual student athletes.   

Chair Karduna urged committee members to review the “Charge and Responsibilities” of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, which was established about 10 years ago. Given the passage of time and the current lack of DIA participation, he wants to ensure that the committee’s charge is something IAC members, the DIA, and the University Senate can all work with effectively.

Services for Student Athletes (SSA) explained: Steve Stolp

Chair Karduna introduced Steve Stolp who is Executive Director of SSA and Building Administrator of the Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes. Several SSA staff were also in attendance.

Stolp's slide show presentation can be found here.

Stolp who has been in his current position for 18 years described the very limited facilities for academic services that existed in Esslinger Hall before the Jaqua Academic Center opened in 2010. Now there are 36 tutor rooms, several classrooms, a lecture hall, a café, and 20 SSA staff members. The UO’s 500 student athletes – both scholarship athletes and walk-ons – receive SSA services and clearly enjoy using the facility and appreciate the services, he said. There are about 350 students receiving full- or partial- athletic scholarships.

Stolp described the NCAA’s academic advising standards and noted that the UO exceeds them. For example, while the NCAA recommends that academically at risk students – those with GPAs below 2.3 - spend 4 hours per week with advisers/tutors, the UO requires 8 hours. The UO requires 6 hours of structured study for those between 2.3 and 2.59 and 4 hours for those between 2.6 and 2.99. Those student athletes with 3.0 or higher GPAs can schedule tutoring as they desire. The UO also requires all freshmen athletes to have 8 hours of structured study per week.

Stolp noted that the SSA program hires about 70 student tutors per term. These are usually juniors and seniors. They must themselves have at least a 3.0 GPA, but many are at 3.5 or better. SSA Learning Specialists train the tutors about tutoring and NCAA rules. Tutors earn $10/hour for working with undergraduate athletes and $11/hour for tutoring graduate student athletes. Tutors stay with their assigned athlete for the entire 10-week term. Stolp said Learning Specialists also work with athletes on study skills, time management, and some learning disabilities.

Merle Weiner asked whether SSA videotapes classes, so athletes who are traveling for competition can watch when they have to miss classes. Stolp said some of this happens on a limited basis. Ben Hansen asked if there is any evidence that athletes select “easier” majors to keep their GPAs up, because of the time and physical demands placed on them as athletes. Stolp acknowledged that interdisciplinary majors, such as General Science, are popular for this reason. He also noted that given the time demands on athletes, class availability is also a major factor in the selection of majors.

Stolp spent a good deal of time explaining the two main measures used to determine the academic progress of student athletes – the Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) and the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR). The FGR can fluctuate wildly from year to year, because of the way it treats students who leave the university, so Stop feels the GSR provides a better gauge of how the UO is doing in graduating student athletes. This is particularly the case when you look at one segment of the student athlete population, such as African-American male athletes, and try to generalize against national trends. The UO’s overall GSR has been in the 80 – 83% range in recent years.

Stolp reviewed several standards for measuring the Academic Progress Rate (APR) of student athletes. They include such things as the number of credits earned per term and academic year, minimum GPA after sophomore year, when a major must be declared, and what portion of the major requirements must be completed each year. He also cited numerous measures that demonstrate the academic success of UO student athletes. For example, 51% of student athletes have GPAs over 3.0; 90% of student athletes who remain at the UO after they have exhausted their athletic eligibility end up graduating; and the GSR for student athletes over the past five years has been higher than that of the general student population.

Stolp concluded by explaining how Student Services for Athletes is reviewed and evaluated at the UO and by the Pac-12 Conference. Student athlete evaluations are posted on the Provost’s website. He also touched on how the university reviews the DIA for compliance with NCAA regulations. Finally, he mentioned several areas of student athlete concern, which included mental health issues, availability of classes, transitioning out of the university setting, and graduation and continuing education. Stolp said SSA has two 0.5 FTE mental health counselors on staff, but has very little control over class scheduling.

Shawn Stevenson asked if SSA has any information about what is happening for athletes after graduation, in terms of job placement. He also asked if there is any way to measure the satisfaction level of walk-ons with SSA services. Ben Hansen noted that lack of faculty and classroom space is a problem for all students and needs to be addressed. Anita Weiss pointed out that it would help all students, not just student athletes, if departments, colleges, and schools varied the times when their required classes are offered. She also urged SSA to try to provide student athletes with tutors for each of their classes, not just the ones that prove to be challenging.

Discussion of the future of the IAC

Chair Karduna asked committee members to provide feedback that will help him establish a direction for the IAC – what issues to address, what presenters to invite to meetings, projects to take on, etc.

Scheduling of future meetings

This is the last IAC meeting for Fall Term. Chair Karduna is waiting to learn more about the schedules of the student members of the IAC before trying to establish a regular meeting time for Winter and Spring Terms.


 Meeting adjourned at 2:32 pm.