(503A) Student-Athletes: Academic Policy

Updated 10/14


Academic standards and requirements for student-athletes at the University of Kansas are no less stringent than for the general student population.  Both the University and Kansas Athletics are aware that participation in varsity athletics makes exceptional demands upon a student-athlete’s time and energy.  Therefore, the University, in concert with Kansas Athletics, has established the Student-Athlete Support Services program to help student-athletes achieve their full academic potential.

Philosophy and Objectives

The University believes in the development of a well-rounded individual, sound in mind and body.  To achieve this, the University and Kansas Athletics strive to offer a balanced academic and athletics program that encourages students to develop characteristics that will make them better citizens and assist them in their life endeavors.  Furthermore, the University and Kansas Athletics are committed to helping each student-athlete graduate and receive a quality education.  In fulfilling this commitment, Kansas Athletics strives to do the following:

  • Recruit only student-athletes with the potential to succeed academically, as well as athletically;
  • Graduate all student-athletes who remain at the University for four years;
  • Protect the academic integrity of the University;
  • Comply with all rules, regulations and procedures of the University, Conference and the NCAA; and
  • Maintain the athletics eligibility of every student-athlete.

Student-Athlete Support Services

Student-Athlete Support Services has numerous full-time counselors assigned to specific sports.  They monitor and promote the academic progress and eligibility status of each student-athlete within those sports.  The primary goal of the academic support program is to provide student-athletes with the educational resources that will enhance their chances of academic success.  To accomplish this goal, the Student-Athlete Support Services program provides the following services:

  • Coordination of new student-athlete orientation, to review University rules and procedures;
  • Comprehensive academic advising and counseling to student-athletes regarding class schedules and University procedures (e.g. drop/add, pass/fail, etc.), including time management and study strategies;
  • Diagnostic assessment and academic profile evaluation, with appropriate interventions for student-athletes who may potentially have academic problems;
  • Referrals to appropriate University resources when problems arise outside the scope of Student-Athlete Support Services expertise;
  • Supervision and monitoring of academic progress, with timely reporting to coaches and athletics administrators;
  • Providing a proactive tutorial program targeting “at-risk” student-athletes, as well as providing support and study skills assistance to all student-athletes;
  • Referral to appropriate professional resources for assessment of learning disabilities;
  • Life Skills course for freshman student-athletes;
  • Contact with professors or University officials, as appropriate, to enhance the academic development of student-athletes; and
  • Travel with teams to serve as test proctors and/or monitors for academic enhancement programs (as needed).

In addition to its primary goal of academic support for student-athletes, the program also strives to maintain effective communication between the University and Kansas Athletics by providing these communication services:

  • Timely reporting of all pertinent athletic and academic information to the student-athlete;
  • Collection of information regarding the in-class performance of student-athletes; and
  • Dissemination of relevant information concerning the progress of student-athletes to all appropriate University offices and to the coaches.

Coaches’ Responsibility

Student-athletes are educated to the policies and procedures of the Student Athlete Support Services by their Academic Counselors.  Although Student Athlete Support Service’s goal is to create an academic support environment, it is the student-athlete’s responsibility to work within the parameters of this environment.  Coaches are asked to support the efforts of their assigned Counselors and to impose reasonable consequences for those student-athletes who are not fulfilling their academic obligations.  It is important for all Head Coaches to meet with their respective counselor for an overview of services offered.  Listed below are helpful guidelines regarding the Student Support Services program:

  • Encourage students to utilize Student Athlete Support Services at the very beginning of the semester rather than waiting for a crisis.
  • Provide your Student-Athlete Support Services counselor with practice & travel schedules; students should request travel letters from counselors for professors who request them.
  • Share all academic bulletins with students.
  • Use your Student Athlete Support Services counselor during the recruiting process to provide prospective students with accurate information.
  • Familiarize yourself with the academic programs & university resources for recruiting purposes.
  • Promote a positive academic environment within your team; acknowledge any academic achievements by individual student-athletes.
  • Use Student-Athlete Support Services counselors as your liaison; do not contact professors in order to monitor your students’ progress or arrange to proctor exams.
  • Do not give academic advice to students or encourage teammates to offer advice: let academic advisors and Student-Athlete Support Services counselors do their jobs.
  • Do not disclose confidential information or students’ grades to parents or other teammates unless a student-athlete has provided you with written permission.

Student-Athlete Support Services Counselors request that coaches not only support the program with encouragement as well as sanctions, but also be supportive of the program’s requirements and allow flexibility with student-athletes who may be on occasion late to practices due to academic counseling or related responsibilities.

In an attempt to advise coaches of scheduled workshops and tutorials, regular reports are sent to them from the Counselors addressing student-athletes’ participation, performance and attitude related to Student-Athlete Support Services activities.

Student-Athletes’ Responsibilities

The student-athlete is ultimately responsible for his/her academic progress at the University of Kansas.  General academic requirements and responsibilities for each student-athlete are contained within this policy with specific requirements available to the student-athlete in the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct as set forth in the Student-Athlete Handbook.

Pre-Admission Counseling

Initial contact with prospective student-athletes by Student-Athlete Support Services Academic Counselors is essential to establish a positive rapport between incoming student-athletes and their counselors.  Therefore, Academic Counselors are available to meet with prospective freshman and transfer students during their official visits.  During this session, the Counselor provides the prospects with information on admissions procedures, pre-registration, degree selection and course availability.  This initial contact also grants the Counselors an opportunity to provide the following information:

  • A realistic assessment of the prospect’s ability to succeed academically;
  • General information concerning University programs;
  • An overview of available departmental services;
  • Insights into the rigors of being a Division I intercollegiate student-athlete; and
  • Answers to questions and concerns recruits may have concerning university life in general and the University of Kansas in particular.

Head Coaches and their recruiting staff are responsible for scheduling appointments with Student-Athlete Support Services Counselors as far in advance of the official visit as possible.    Coaches may also request, through Student-Athlete Support Services, the scheduling of meetings with faculty members within the recruit’s anticipated academic discipline.  The staff will make every effort to schedule faculty members as requested.


Prior to initial enrollment, freshmen and transfer student-athletes are encouraged to attend the university’s general pre-registration and orientation sessions for all students.  The primary purpose of these sessions is to familiarize students with the academic demands of the university.

In addition, the Student-Athlete Support Services staff offers mini-orientations addressing needs specific to the student-athletes and are also available to meet individually with student-athletes as requested.

Academic Planning and Counseling

The Academic Counselors maintain daily contact with the coaches and student-athletes as needed. Specifically, each counselor is assigned to specific sports and is responsible for the full scope of that sport’s academic support needs.

To comply with the NCAA’s Progress Toward Degree rules, each student-athlete (including transfers) must designate a program of studies leading toward a specific baccalaureate degree by the beginning of the third year of enrollment (e.g., the fifth semester.)  The Student-Athlete Support Services staff confirms that each “fifth semester” student-athlete has met this requirement, and then works with the student-athlete to ensure that satisfactory progress toward the specified degree is being made.

Class Attendance

A direct correlation exists between classroom attendance and academic success.  Therefore, all coaches and Kansas Athletics administrators must reinforce the mandatory class attendance policy established by Kansas Athletics:  “It is the responsibility of the student-athletes to attend every class session held when they are not ill, involved with a personal emergency or traveling with their team.”

Student-athletes are informed of this attendance policy and are expected to attend all sessions of each class in which they are enrolled.  Furthermore, specific attendance policies may be established by each course instructor and/or Head Coach, and are to be adhered to by the student-athlete.  University of Kansas faculty members have the discretion to require strict adherence to their attendance policy at all times and may give failing grades for excessive absences.

It is the student-athlete’s responsibility to present a copy of his/her spor’ts schedule to his/her instructors at the beginning of each semester.  Furthermore, arrangements for taking any examinations or completing work assignments affected by team travel or competition are the responsibility of each student-athlete.

Most instructors are sensitive to the problems involved in scheduling athletic competitions and are generally willing to assist student-athletes when they request special consideration in advance.  Should a problem with missed classes due to athletic participation arise, the student-athlete’s Academic Counselor may be contacted to assist in resolving the situation.

Student-athletes with excessive absences are counseled regarding the consequences of continued absenteeism and are warned that they will be subject to ineligibility for practice or competition if this pattern continues.


University of Kansas professors are under no obligation to offer a make-up exam or to reschedule an exam.  However, most professors are willing to assist student-athletes with making-up or rescheduling the exam, provided they are given sufficient notice.  Therefore, when a student-athlete learns that an exam is scheduled during the time he/she will be participating in the intercollegiate athletics program, the student-athlete is responsible for notifying the instructor and making arrangements to make up the exam.

Exam Proctoring
With the professor’s approval, Student-Athlete Support Services staff members are available to serve as exam proctors while a team is traveling.  Requests for the scheduling and coordination of “on the road” exams must be submitted as early in the semester as possible.

Final Examinations

Pursuant to Article 1, Section 3.7 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations, the following University policy governs the scheduling of intercollegiate athletic events during final examination periods:

“No university organization shall schedule events or meetings that require student participation … during the final examination period, including Stop Day. Exceptions are allowed for local events or meetings that are scheduled on Saturday and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. A committee that must meet during the final examination period to resolve an academic issue may meet only at a time mutually convenient to all members. No other exceptions are allowed unless by explicit direction of the Chancellor.”

Religious Observances and Examinations

Pursuant to Article 1, Section 4.3 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations, the following University policy governs the conflict of religious observances and scheduling of examinations:

“Examinations and tests other than final examinations should not be scheduled in conflict with mandated religious observances.  In order to ascertain in a given class if a scheduled examination conflicts with a mandated religious observance, at the beginning of the semester the instructor shall ask students who may be affected to identify themselves privately so that a make-up examination may be scheduled at a mutually acceptable time.”

Missed Class Policy

Kansas Athletics intends that schedules of all intercollegiate athletics teams be consistent with the educational needs of the student-athletes.
No team schedule for any season shall be approved by the Athletics Director if it:

  1. Violates any of the University Senate Rules and Regulation regarding final examination periods and “stop day” and/or

b)Provides that team members will miss more than the equivalent of ten (10) full days of classes in any semester as a result of such schedule. The Athletics Director, upon recommendation of the Sport Supervisor, has discretion to make exceptions to this policy.  The Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator shall monitor team scheduling to ensure that this policy is followed.

Classes missed due to NCAA and Conference post-season championship events will not be subject to the “ten day” rule.

One-half day will be considered missed when a competition or travel is scheduled to commence after noon, unless no squad member misses any classes; when a competition or travel is scheduled to commence prior to noon, a full day will be considered missed. Similarly, when the return travel from a competition is scheduled to terminate prior to noon, one-half day will be considered missed; when the scheduled termination is after noon, one full day will be considered missed.

Reporting and Handling of Academic Issues

The Student-Athlete Support Services staff compiles and maintains a file on each student-athlete.  The file contains all materials documenting the academic profile of the student-athlete (e.g. academic transcripts, SAT and/or ACT scores, grade point averages, plan and/or program of study, etc.), as well as various forms verifying the eligibility status of the student-athlete.

Although all student-athletes are eligible for Student-Athlete Support Services services, student-athletes who are targeted as “at risk” receive the highest priority for supplemental support from Academic Counselors.  Once a student-athlete is determined to be “at risk,” the Academic Counselor is responsible for determining which academic support measures should be instituted.  Academic problems may be addressed through tutoring (see Tutorial Program) or by additional support measures.

Academic Reports

Counselors report to the coaches as often as necessary addressing specific academic concerns. Additionally, the Counselors contact faculty members and assigned tutors to receive routine reports on student-athletes identified “at risk.”

Regular reporting has been implemented to achieve “identification” of student-athletes’ academic problems and to provide an opportunity to institute corrective measures in a timely and effective manner.  It is each coach’s responsibility to follow through with the counselor’s recommendations regarding a student-athlete.  However, when academic problems occur, coaches are not to intercede with the faculty or University administration on the student-athlete’s behalf.

Dropping or Adding a Class

In order to remain academically eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics, a student-athlete’s course load must not drop below 12 hours.  A student-athlete who needs to drop or add a class must have the written approval of his/her University Academic Advisor and should also inform his/her Student-Athlete Support Services Counselor.

If dropping a class results in a student-athlete being registered for less than 12 hours, Student-Athlete Support Services immediately informs the Compliance Office and the individual’s Head Coach of the potential eligibility problem prior to granting approval.

Incomplete Grades

Student-athletes are required to complete all course assignments by the last day of classes for the semester.  However, under extenuating circumstances, student-athletes may receive an “incomplete” grade.  Procedures for removing an incomplete grade vary from professor to professor.  It is the responsibility of the student-athlete to understand the procedure in each case and to follow it.

The Student-Athlete Support Services Counselors monitor all student-athlete records and contact any student-athlete receiving an “incomplete” grade.  The Head Coach is also notified if the incomplete grade may affect the student-athlete’s academic eligibility.


Student-Athlete Support Services works in close communication with members of other University student assistance programs.  When indicated, staff members may refer the student-athlete to such offices as the Alcohol Education Programs, Career Services Programs, Mental Health Services, Speech and Hearing Clinic, Women’s Center, Writing Resource Center, etc.

Study Hall

Coaches interested in having their student-athletes participate in a mandatory Study Hall should contact their respective counselor.

Tutorial Program

Student-Athlete Support Services offers a comprehensive tutorial program to provide student-athletes with the necessary support mechanisms to promote their chances for academic success.  Tutorial services are available on an individual or workshop basis to student-athletes upon the recommendations of the Student-Athlete Support Services counselors, as well as upon the request of the coach or the student-athlete.

The Tutorial Program has the following policies that each student-athlete must follow:

1. Each student-athlete must meet with his/her Student-Athlete Support Services Counselor before initial tutorial assignments.
2. Tutors will not complete student-athletes’ assignments for the student-athletes; therefore, student-athletes must come to the tutorial sessions having already completed or at least attempted the reading/homework.
3. Regular class attendance is required for all students who request tutorial assistance. Tutorial services may be withheld from any student who does not regularly attend class.
4. Student-athletes should come to each tutorial session with prepared questions and be ready to discuss lectures, texts and other assignments.
5. If a student-athlete misses two individual or group tutorial sessions, sessions for that particular subject may be terminated.
6. A missed appointment is defined as not showing up at all for an appointment.
7. Student athletes’ coaches will be notified by their Counselor when students are late to or miss tutoring sessions. 8. If a student-athlete has to cancel a tutorial appointment, it is his/her responsibility to contact the tutor at least a day before the appointment. If the student-athlete is unable to contact the tutor, the student-athlete must contact the Tutorial Coordinator or Counselor immediately.
9. If the tutor misses an appointment, the student-athlete should contact the Tutorial Coordinator or Counselor immediately.
10. The Counselors will provide student-athletes with the final exam review schedules. If the times of these sessions are not convenient or if the student-athlete needs additional help, the student-athlete should contact his/her Counselor.

Tutors are students who have distinguished themselves in their major and may be recommended to Student-Athlete Support Services by department chairs, faculty members or college deans.  All new tutors are given a probationary period in which their academic knowledge and teaching skills are assessed.  If the tutor does not meet the standards or requirements of the tutorial program, he/she is released.

Transcript Requests

Transcript information is protected by FERPA and must be kept confidential.  Therefore, unofficial transcripts may only be released to Head Coaches and administrators who require the transcript data to complete their administrative duties.