Sarah Shipp, ACU’s Director of Academics and SWA for Athletics, and Chad Williams, ACU’s Director of Compliance, led an Adams Center session about the world of athletic academics. Sarah and Chad shared about the academic division of the Athletic Department and some valuable information for faculty. Both Chad and Sarah welcome communication with faculty regarding concerns about student athletes, ranging from academic to conduct . 


In addition, Krista Masci and Melissa Sullivan serve as academic coordinators with Sarah. Their team designs study hall requirements for students on athletic aid, meets with high risk students, addresses academic integrity violations, and provides academic coaching. They serve as a connection to campus resources and liaisons between faculty/departments and coaches/athletic administrative staff and assist when a student athlete is referred to SOAR. Please don’t hesitate to contact Sarah, Krista, or Melissa at any time.


While student athletes should not receive any treatment not available for other students, it’s helpful to know a few things about student athletes:


  • Most have come to ACU for athletics, so the spiritual aspects on campus can present challenges. They might not understand the ACU culture and its faith commitments. Some have little to no familiarity or context for the Bible.
  • Some student athletes are dependent on athletic aid and because of this they feel pulled to put their sport over their education.
  • Many student athletes are transfers with few support systems in Abilene.
  • They have a lot of responsibility placed on them as leaders on the university campus. They sign a code of conduct that includes their social media activity.
  • They often struggle to have the same kind of social life and extracurricular activities as non-athletes because the time commitments for their sport are so intense.


What are some ways faculty can help?


  • Please fill out the progress reports you receive on student athletes.
  • In your syllabi, please note all required materials (books, calculator, tools, supplies, etc) because if a student athlete is on a “book scholarship,” and it’s listed on the syllabus as a required material for the course, they can receive financial assistance.
  • Be mindful of departmental scheduling for extra events whenever possible.
  • Attend home events to cheer on student athletes!
  • Addition of summer courses is helpful to student athletes.


As a final reminder, Chad emphasized the importance of faculty communicating with the academic coordinators for all student athlete concerns due to NCAA rules and regulations.