Athletic Council Assists Students

The University of Central Oklahoma not only has an athletic director looking over the student-athletes, but the athletic department has professors across campus looking out for them as well.

“One of the things the NCAA is extremely interested in is transparency,” said Trey Cone, chair of UCO’s Athletic Council. “And that the athletic departments aren’t doing anything that people across campus don’t know about, that might be considered shady.”

To maintain transparency, UCO has an Athletic Council, made up of 10 professors from different colleges around campus. The NCAA recommends that colleges have an athletic council and although the majority of athletic departments across the country have an athletic council, it’s not a requirement.

The council’s goal is to monitor policies involving financial and student welfare, academic, compliance and integrity issues.

Last year, one of the things the council worked on was grade checks for student athletes.

“The coaches wanted to do that for student-athletes to find out where the student-athletes are and to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Cone said.

The council, which meets two to three times per semester, discussed what would be the most efficient process to implement grade checks as they streamlined this new service.

The decision to start an athletic council started nine years ago after now former UCO professor David Hartman saw Oklahoma State University implement their own athletic council.

“We’ve grown and developed since then,” Cone said. “We’re not necessarily the same as OSU’s. We’ve done some things a little bit differently to fit the needs of UCO.”

Faculty members on the council don’t have an incentive to be on it as there’s no extra pay involved, but they do it to support the university.

Lee Tyner, a professor in the College of Business, has been on the council since the beginning.

“It was an opportunity to serve the university in an important capacity,” Tyner said. “And to better understand and assist the interactions between student athletes and their academic pursuits.”

Tyner said he likes serving on the council because it gives faculty an opportunity to have a say in policy development.

The UCO Athletic Department believes it is one way to ensure student-athlete success both on and off the field.

“It’s really a way to update people across campus about what’s going on,” Cone said.

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