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False Perceptions

The athletics council would like to help correct some false perceptions faculty and staff may have concerning Tarleton State athletics and student-athletes.

False Perception No. 1

Does the law allow me to send grades for student-athletes to the coaches when they are requested?

Answer: Yes. The student-athletes are required to sign a waiver of the privacy act at the beginning of the school year. Therefore, when a coach contacts a faculty member for grade checks, you are allowed by law to provide the information on the student-athlete.

False Perception No. 2

Oh, s/he's just another "dumb jock."

The "dumb jock" image is, unfortunately, too prevalent across college campuses. This harmful stereotype perpetuates the perception that the student has limited academic capabilities. With this comes the ensuing devaluation of the student that is often expressed in subtle forms such as assigning unchallenging tasks, excessive praise for mediocre performances or offering repeated unsolicited help. This lowering of academic expectations is cancerous and goes against our academic philosophy at Tarleton and at the Athletics Department.

We set high expectations for our student-athletes because there is a correlation between high expectations and quality performance. If there is one thing we have learned in Sports Psychology, it is that there is a correlation between one's efficacy beliefs and performance. The "dumb jock" stereotype only serves to circumvent our aspirations to graduate quality graduates. The "dumb jock" image is harmful to our student-athletes, and to our community. Student-athletes must be held to the same high academic standards as all other students, and we in the athletics department are prepared to assist instructors in any way we can.

False Perception No. 3

"Coaches pander to student-athletics."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Coaches, including the Athletics Director, are on record in restraining student-athletes from participating in their sport because of academic and behavioral problems.

Obviously, we prefer things to not get to this point because it hurts many people involved - especially the student-athlete. We care about our student-athletes and want them to succeed in the classroom and in their sport. Prevention and early detection is the key. Thus, from time to time, coaches contact faculty directly to ascertain the academic progress of student-athletes, particularly when they are concerned about a student. This comes from a genuine interest and attempt to team up with faculty to identify academic difficulties before the problems become unwieldy.

Coaches need and use this information from faculty to reinforce high academic expectations. It is for this reason that all student-athletes sign a waiver of the privacy act, to make their academic information available to the coaches, per NCAA regulations.

The academic commitment in the athletics department is genuine. If a student-athlete is missing assignment deadlines, is consistently late or not attending classes, is a disruption or otherwise not meeting faculty standards of academic excellence, please contact us so that we can team up to help the student get back on track on the road to success.

If you have any questions or wonder if other perceptions maybe false, contact Chair Richard Denning .