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Athletics Scheduling Conflicts

Guidelines on resolving scheduling conflicts between academics and athletics

Adopted by the Faculty May 20, 2002, updated November, 2006

The following guidelines are affirmed by the faculty in order to recognize both the primacy of the academic mission at Swarthmore and the importance of the intercollegiate athletic program for our students. The guidelines are meant to offer direction with an appropriate degree of flexibility. Where conflicts occur, students, faculty, and coaches are encouraged to work out mutually acceptable solutions; faculty and coaches are also encouraged to communicate with one another about such conflicts. Note that the guidelines make a firm distinction between athletic practices and competitive contests.

  1. Regular class attendance is expected of all students. Students who are participating in intercollegiate athletics should not miss class, seminar, or lab for practice.
  2. Students who have a conflict between an athletic contest and a required academic activity, such as a class meeting or a lecture, should discuss it and try to come to an understanding regarding the conflict with their coach and their professor as soon as possible, preferably during the first week of the semester and certainly in advance of the conflict. When a mutually agreeable understanding is not reached, students should be mindful of the primacy of academics at Swarthmore. Students should understand that acceptable arrangements may not be feasible for all classes, particularly seminars and laboratories.
  3. Students should take their schedule of athletic contests into account as they plan their class schedules and may want to discuss this with their academic advisors. Students should provide coaches with a copy of their academic schedules and inform them promptly of any changes.
  4. Coaches should make every effort to schedule practices and contests to avoid conflict with classes and should collect their students' academic schedules in an effort to coordinate team activities and minimize conflict. Coaches should instruct students not to miss class for practice and should encourage students to work out possible conflicts between classes and contests as early as possible.
  5. Faculty should provide as complete a description of scheduling requirements as possible to their classes early each semester (preferably before registration or during the first week of classes); faculty and coaches alike should work with students to resolve contest-related conflicts.
  6. Coaches and faculty alike should avoid last-minute scheduling changes whenever possible, and faculty should normally avoid scheduling extraordinary class meetings. Where such meetings seem desirable, students should be consulted, and as the Handbook for Instructional Staff stipulates, the arrangement cleared with the Department Chair and Registrar (Handbook, 2006, p. 82). Where possible, extraordinary sessions should be voluntary or offered with a choice of sections to attend. When a schedule is changed after students have arranged their commitments, it is important for the faculty member or coach to be flexible.
  7. Normally classes will end each day by 4:00 (5:00 on Fridays). Seminars will often extend beyond 4:00. Afternoon laboratories are usually scheduled until 4:15 or 4:30, and students who encounter difficulties completing a lab may need to stay later than the scheduled time. Students in all cases are expected to keep to their academic commitments and then attend practices as soon as possible.
  8. Faculty should recognize that the time from 4:15 to 7:00 p.m. is heavily used by students for extracurricular activities and dinner. This late afternoon time has also traditionally been used for certain courses in the performing arts. Some use of this time for other academic purposes (such as department colloquia, lectures, etc.) is appropriate, but departments are encouraged to exercise restraint in such use, particularly with respect to activities they judge important for the full academic participation of students.