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USF’s new policy: miss too many classes, you’re suspended

Posted Jul 16, 2009 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Jul 16, 2009 at 11:59 PM

If the thoroughness of the academic committee’s review of Kamran Joyer’s transcript isn’t enough evidence how seriously USF is taking academics these days, here is yet another example: football and men’s basketball players will be suspended games for missing classes this fall. Here’s my story that will be on the front sports page of Friday’s Tampa Tribune.

In the past, University of South Florida football players who missed classes were required to run after practice.

This fall, the Bulls won’t run – they’ll sit.

USF has implemented a new academic accountability policy. A fifth unexcused absence will result in a one-game suspension as well as one game for each subsequent absence.

There will be no penalty for the first three unexcused absences (the players’ parents will be notified after the third absence). A fourth unexcused absence will result in the player being held out of one practice. The absences are cumulative for each semester and not per class.

A new policy also will be in effect this fall for the men’s basketball program, although it hasn’t been finalized, USF associate athletic director Amy Haworth said.

USF’s football and men’s basketball programs are the school’s only two sports that have added these new attendance requirements. Not coincidentally both sports ranked among the nation’s worst in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rates (APR).

Among BCS conference schools the past two years, USF’s football team had the nation’s worst and third-worst APR scores, while USF’s men’s basketball team had the nation’s third-worst and 10th-worst APR scores.

“This is what we believe what we need to have in place to have the most positive impact on our programs,” Haworth said. “If we need to adjust [in the future] we will. We want [our teams] to have the best performance academically and athletically and can do it by changing policy and having higher expectations.”

If a player misses an “academic support meeting,” such as tutoring sessions, study halls, etc., the player can not practice until he makes up the session. Players will not be suspended from games for these absences.

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