Editor's Note: An athletic department has countless resources and programs to support student-athletes but none are more basic and crucial than study hall. The perception of study hall has shifted over the years and has not become a source of punishment rather than success within student-athletes. This is primarily because it is required for student-athletes when a new student or while getting close to being academically ineligible. It's time to change that perception and take study hall back.
Colleges and universities have study hall areas usually within their athletic department that grants student-athletes access to computers, tutors, academic advisors, and writing coaches. Study halls typically have hours that are more expansive than the normal athletic department hours to allow student-athlete access to tutors on the weekends and late at night, after practice. This tool is one of the most underutilized by student-athletes because participation is often times seen as a punishment rather than a benefit for scholar-athletes. Many colleges and universities command student-athletes perform a required amount of hours where their physical presence is needed. 10 hours a week is common, but as a student-athlete goes through his course study, fewer hours are required as solid study habits are formed. Typically, study hall for incoming freshman, junior college transfers, and current student-athletes who’s grade point average has dropped below the athletic department mandated mark.
The only student-athletes who are required to attend study hall are the ones who come close to becoming ineligible. This is a waste of a very important resource. Study hall environments are meant to foster education productivity and academic success. There are desks, computers, open spaces, and academic guides that’s sole purpose is to assist student-athletes and provide them with a work environment that is conducive to learning. But although there are all of these available tools, they are only good if they are actually used. Much like a library, when you walk into a study hall you can feel the atmosphere change to one that is meant for learning and studying. This is a valuable feeling to be aware of because getting yourself mentally prepared is just as important as physical preparedness.
Study hall needs to be seen as a tool instead of a punishment. When student-athletes understand the importance of that, then they will be able to tap into the resources it provides. The shift in mentality needs to be created by the department of athletics and framed correctly to the student-athlete.
Stay tuned for ways that directors and advisors may create a social shift in how student-athletes perceive study hall.