Report on the April 24 Agenda
Year-end Report of the
Committee on Recreation
During the 2001-2002
academic year the University Council Committee on Recreation and
Intercollegiate Athletics (CRIA) was charged with: a) helping
the DRIA develop educational programs and ongoing sources of advice
and information about performance-enhancing drugs and supplements;
b) maintaining oversight over the improvement of recreational
facilities; c) continuing to monitor the University's compliance
with the letter and the spirit of NCAA regulations; d) working
with DRIA to ensure that academic priorities are given appropriate
attention by coaches and the Department. Help DRIA develop mechanisms
for improving academic support for student athletes; e) establishing
lines of communication with the coaching staff to better understand
their perspective; f) suggesting initiatives that can increase
faculty involvement in recruiting and in campus life for student-athletes.
CRIA met seven times
with the Director and the appropriate Associate/Assistant Directors
of the Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics (DRIA)
for discussions on individual charges. CRIA subcommittees were
formed to examine GAPSA recreation issues and academic support
for student-athletes. Their findings have been incorporated into
1. Help the DRIA
develop educational programs and ongoing sources of advice and
information about performance-enhancing drugs and supplements.
CRIA stands ready to support any DRIA-initiated educational programs
Maintain oversight over the improvement of recreational facilities.
The committee met with Dr. Michael Diorka to discuss this
charge. The major issue of discussion focused on construction
of the David S. Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. The building
was "topped off" on 20 December 2001. Contractors and
sub-contractors have certified that they have no labor contract
negotiations between the present and the projected completion
date in the 2003.
Pottruck Center has utilized a four-level cantilever design in
order to provide a maximum of space with the small construction
site footprint that is available. The main entry level will contain
the Katz Fitness Center, climbing wall, pro shop/juice bar, administrative
offices and locker facilities. Three basketball courts and free
weight/selectorized training area are planned for the second level.
A spinning (stationary bicycle) room, state-of-the-art cardio/selectorized
room and indoor golf center will be located on the third level.
Two aerobic rooms and a second cardio/selectorized room will be
installed on the top (fourth) level..
Gimbel pool will
be closed again this summer while new mechanicals are installed.
Arrangements have again been made for the use of the Drexel University
pool. Transportation to the pool will be via the LUCY bus. This
will be the final construction closing for the pool. The new pool
area will contain both a 50-meter competitive pool and a 25-yard
instructional pool. Additional features will include a sauna on
the pool deck, a new timing system and computerized scoreboard.
The swimming pool is the only portion of the fitness center that
will be shared with a team that competes in intercollegiate athletics.
The remainder of the facility is dedicated for the exclusive use
of Penn students, staff and faculty.
During the first
year of construction, a 20% decrease (from 2,000 to 1,600 visits/day)
in student usage was noted. This was not unexpected and there
is every reason to believe that visits will return to pre-construction
levels with the opening of the new facility.
issues. A CRIA subcommittee composed of Hillary Holmes (CRIA),
Ann Tiao (CRIA) and Mike Stevens (GAPSA), met with Dr. Diorka
for the purpose of developing a recreation program for graduate
and professional students. An intramural program is already set
up for graduate school teams with games that are played on a regular
basis, however, the subcommittee felt that this type of program
may not be meeting the needs of all the graduate student lifestyles.
In an attempt to involve more graduate students in a recreation
program, three "sporting events" were held. All events
were held on the weekend with a total attendance of over 200 people.
The volleyball event proved most popular but more importantly
each event drew a sufficient number of students to provide both
competition and make the event fun. Graduate/professional students
from nearly all schools at the University including SAS, Wharton,
Medicine, SEAS, Nursing, GSE, GSFA, Law, Veterinary, and Annenberg
participated. Continuation of the "sporting event" program
is planned for the 2002-2003 academic year. GAPSA and CRIA wish
to thank Murray Grant, Stan Wilson, and Dr. Mike Diorka for their
help and support in this endeavor.
Work with DRIA to ensure that academic priorities are given appropriate
attention by coaches and the Department. Help DRIA develop mechanisms
for improving academic support for student-athletes. Over
the past three years CRIA has worked with Assistant Athletic Director
Rosemary Burnette on developing a comprehensive plan to support
student-athletes at Penn. CRIA believes the components of this
program should include: 1) participation in the Pre-Freshman Program
(for those who require it); 2) tutorial and individual study support
program; 3) a system for monitoring progress of student-athletes;
4) fostering competition for academic excellence among our student-athletes;
and 5) involvement of faculty as mentors and resources.
Pre-Freshman Program (PFP)/PENNCAP: The PFP is a four-week
summer academic enrichment program. During the month of August,
110 students enroll in rigorous courses designed by faculty
in each of the four undergraduate schools. They also receive
comprehensive individualized counseling and academic support
services. Each student is assigned a Peer Counselor and participates
in social and cultural enrichment activities. This program is
devised to provide students and student-athletes with necessary
background skills for academic success at Penn. A principal
concern of the PFP is the its small size. Consequently only
half of the student-athletes (and students) who should participate
in this program are able to do so. Recommendation: The
Provost should appoint a committee to evaluate the logistics
and feasibility of increasing the number of students who can
attend PFP each year.
Academic Achievement Program (CAAP). The greatest change
in support for student-athletes during the past year has been
the institution of CAAP. In previous years, a chronic problem
for student-athletes has been their ability to access tutoring
services. In many cases scheduled tutoring was held at time
that conflicted with practice. This year DRIA initiated "walk-in"
tutorials. Previously tutoring was arranged by appointment.
In the new system, the tutoring sessions have a set schedule.
Student-athlete who requires help with a subject shows up at
a preset time and place. Although the system has been in place
for less than one year, early indications are that it is very
compatible with most student-athlete lifestyles. Freshmen student-athletes
are required to attend the tutorial/individual study sessions.
Upperclassmen with a 2.5 or lower GPA are "invited"
to attend these sessions. Approximately 60-80 students attend
per night. PENNCAP counselors go to CAAP sessions to periodically
to check in with PENNCAP student-athletes.
The basic goal
of the program is to bring tutoring to the athlete at a time(s)
when he is free. CAAP sessions are held in the evening (7:30-10
p.m.). CAAP tutors are student-athletes, hired and trained by
Tutoring Center after meeting the same rigorous standards as
other TC tutors. The use of qualified student-athletes as tutors
has an added benefit in that their employment does not dilute
of the TC tutor pool utilized by other students. Additionally,
tutors can provide feedback to DRIA on students' improvement/attitude,
via their time sheets.
addition to CAAP sessions, student's can also attend group tutorials
sponsored by the TC. The Learning Resource Services and Center
provides 8 weeks of information sessions, divided by sport,
to discuss services, skills, strategy and hours of availability,
on-site or near athletics. Like CAAP, the TC also has walk-in
tutoring sites on campus at Harnwell House, SH-DH, Towne and
Vance. Tutoring center offers special sessions on 5 intro courses,
4 nights a week. Students can get 30-minute session on a walk-in
basis. All tutoring services are free to students and 50% of
the student body takes advantage of tutoring services. Some
courses/professors have organized special supplemental instruction,
example: Organic Chemistry offers supplemental questions and
session for answering questions.
Monitoring student-athlete performance. An a essential element
of any support program for student-athletes is the ability to
monitor progress through the semester. CRIA examined two potential
solutions to this problem, the Mid-semester Warning (M-sW) and
a student-originated request to release information directly
to DRIA. The initial appeal of the M-sW was that that it was
an ongoing Penn program that could provide DRIA with the necessary
information on student-athlete progress. Further investigation
showed several problems with using M-sW: 1), it is utilized
only in the College and; 2) with the exception of language departments
it is largely ignored. A student-originated form was then explored.
This one page form contains an authorization to release academic
information to DRIA that is signed by the student-athlete. Faculty
will be asked to answer two questions. What is the student-athlete's
standing in class? What are the performance indicators? Filling
out the form should take the faculty member less than an minute.
The return will be to DRIA. Recommendation:
The Provost should endorse a mechanism that will enable DRIA
to monitor the performance of its student athletes in the classroom.
Fostering competition for academic excellence among Penn student-athletes.
An initiative that recognizes academic excellence should accompany
the recent changes in DRIA academic support programs. These
programs are low cost/no cost initiatives that provide encouragement
for student-athletes and a spirit of competition amongst the
University's athletic teams. For example, these awards should
recognize "best team GPA" or "most improved team
GPA". Furthermore, the creation of an "Academic All-Penn
Athlete" designation would permit recognition of individual
student-athletes across all sports that achieve a certain GPA.
If initiated, CRIA would like to see this award become a part
the student-athletes permanent record. Recommendation:
DRIA initiate an awards program that recognizes the academic
excellence of our student-athletes.
involvement in recruiting and encouraging academic excellence
among Penn student-athletes. DRIA is currently attempting
to encourage interactions between faculty, student-athletes
and the department. Faculty participation helps recruiting good
students. In addition, faculty can also mentor student-athletes
as well as assist in career choices made at the conclusion of
the undergraduate years. This program is in its very early stages
and more details will be available in the upcoming academic
--Edward T. Lally,