President Gilbert hopes to adopt athletic guidelines from NCAA convention

Student athletes who participate in sports at Marshall University have to juggle the responsibilities of practicing and competing in their sport, as well as achieving academic success.

President Jerome Gilbert attended the NCAA convention in Nashville, Tennessee last week where conferences such as the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 passed guidelines that will provide scheduled time to allow their students more opportunities to tend to academic responsibilities.

Conference USA did not participate in passing these guidelines, but President Gilbert hopes that Marshall can implement similar guidelines on its own in the future.

“All of the presidents wanted Conference USA to be a stronger conference,” Gilbert said. “I think we have a stable conference, we want our students to be successful and we want to make sure that we have everything available for them to succeed academically.”

Student athletes have expressed their desire for such guidelines in the past, most specifically the desire for one day each week where student athletes wouldn’t have any responsibilities related to athletics. Gilbert hopes that such a day is something that Marshall can implement in the future.

The guidelines passed by the other conferences included the creation of a time management plan for each sport, prohibiting athletic related activities during a continuous eight-hour period between the 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. time frame.

The guidelines also require a seven-day break after the season and 14 additional days off during the academic year when classes are in session, as well as one day off per week during preseason and vacation periods.

Gilbert said they also discussed several different ways to improve Conference USA, such as the future media rights for the conference, as well as trying to increase fundraising for universities due to decreased state support.

“All of the presidents wanted Conference USA to be a stronger conference,” Gilbert said. “We talked about making sure that we schedule out of conference games for sports that would strengthen our schedule to raise the prestige of the conference.”

The NCAA holds a national convention once a year at various locations where the presidents of universities compose the board of directors of the conference.

“It’s important to have our president present at these meetings because so many important decisions are made,” said Ginny Painter, the senior vice president of communications. “Having a seat at the table is critical because important decisions are being made that affect our student athletes.”

Adam Stephens can be contacted at [email protected].