Missed Class Policy for Student-Athletes

Authority: Athletics
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted February 26, 2019


Participants in McNeese State University intercollegiate athletic programs are bound to the same standard of academic excellence expected of all undergraduate and graduate students. To ensure this standard, the University recruits and enrolls student-athletes who have the intellectual abilities necessary to succeed in the classroom and obtain a degree.

Since the pursuit of both academic and athletic excellence is a time-intensive activity, it is inevitable that student-athletes will face conflicts between their class and athletic schedules. The purpose of this policy is to set forth principles and procedures aimed at reducing conflicts, negotiating those that remain unavoidable, and ensuring both the integrity of the academic process as well as the just treatment of student-athletes.


  1. In accordance with NCAA and Southland Conference regulations, the athletics program will take every measure to minimize the number of classes student-athletes must miss due to athletic competition.
  2. The director of athletics and head coaches will take the academic calendar and schedule into account when scheduling athletic contests, practices, and team meetings.
  3. NCAA bylaws mandate that no student-athlete shall miss a class to attend a practice session. Per NCAA Rule, activities considered practice include:
    1. Preparation and conditioning time (weight training, running, etc.);
    2. Training room time (rehab, taping, etc.);
    3. Meetings (to include individual film watching); and
    4. On-field practice.
  4. Faculty members should not penalize student-athletes for missing classes due to conflicts with scheduled athletic contests or related travel.
  5. It is recognized that certain course activities are necessary to meet course and/or program requirements. Student-athletes should make every effort to minimize conflicts with such academic activities (e.g., clinicals, labs and field trips).
  6. When an athletic competition takes place at McNeese (i.e., a home game), no student-athlete is authorized to be absent from any class prior to two hours before the scheduled start of the competition.
  7. Authorized absences for scheduled athletic competitions and related travel do not relieve student-athletes of their class responsibilities. They are responsible for any course material covered during a missed class.
  8. When there are schedule conflicts, absences, or other issues, the faculty athletics representative (FAR) and the director of student-athlete services will work in concert with the student-athlete, faculty member, and the coaching staff for the most optimal solution. This protects the integrity of the academic process while enabling, when possible, the student to participate in University-sanctioned athletic events.


Prior to Term

  1. The FAR and director of student-athlete services will meet annually with each college and/or department in order to best collaborate to support student-athletes’ academic success.
  2. The FAR and athletics administration will review a 90% complete proposed travel schedule for each sport six months in advance of the season. The draft will include the time and date of competition, destination, departure time, travel time, and return time.
  3. The FAR will review each proposal and make recommendations including exceptions deemed justifiable to the Athletics Academic Advisory Committee. The committee will contact the FAR with their approval of all travel schedules or comments/concerns.
  4. The proposed itinerary should comply with the following provisions with justifications provided for any requested exception:
    1. No student-athlete should miss more than 20% of the scheduled class meetings (nine for MWF classes, six for TR classes, three for once-a-week classes) due to competition in any one semester. This 20% excludes participation in Southland Conference or NCAA championship play. Any exception to this 20% must be approved by the FAR, the Athletics Academic Advisory Committee, and the provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management.
    2. For the purposes of calculating missed days, the following guide will be used:
      1. Day of departure:
        1. Depart at or prior to noon = one day
        2. Depart after noon but before 3:00 p.m. = 1/4 day
        3. Depart after 3:00 p.m. = zero days
      2. Day of return:
        1. Return before 8:00 a.m. = zero days
        2. Return between 8:00 a.m. and noon = 3/4 day
        3. Return after noon = one day
    3. For away competition with overnight travel, no team shall depart more than 48 hours prior to the time of competition and must return within 36 hours subsequent to the end of the competition.
    4. A team traveling to an athletic competition within a 200-mile radius of the campus should return to the campus the afternoon or evening of the competition. A team may stay overnight when the competition schedule extends over two or more consecutive days.
    5. For away competition, student-athletes will not miss any classes prior to 30 minutes before the scheduled time of departure.
  5. Head coaches should be wary of taking a student-athlete on a trip if it will hinder academic progress/success. Participation in athletic competition should augment a student-athlete’s academic experience, not jeopardize it.
  6. If a team is traveling during finals week, the student-athlete is responsible for arranging another exam time, either before or after finals week. In cases where the professor is not able to administer the final exam before or after the team travels, the Academic Testing Center in the Office of Career and Professional Development Services may proctor the exam.
  7. Teams below a 930 multi-year APR score will not be permitted to travel during finals week unless travel is to a Southland Conference or NCAA championship.

Start of Semester

  1. For sports in season, student-athletes will receive a copy of the Student-Athlete Excused Absence Form along with an accompanying letter to the faculty from the FAR from their head coach prior to the first day of class. They should hand-deliver these letters to their professors, preferably on the first day of the semester for notification and arrangements (before the conclusion of the late registration period).
  2. Student-athletes are responsible for reviewing the syllabus, noting potential conflicts, and initiating resolution with their professors in the event of missed quizzes, exams, or assignments. These arrangements do not relieve student-athletes from submitting all assignments on time without faculty approval.
  3. In case of conflicts, the faculty member will approve a reasonable resolution. These should neither penalize the student-athletes or unfairly advantage or disadvantage him/her relative to other students. In the case of missed quizzes or exams, a faculty member may choose to have the quiz or exam administered and proctored through the Academic Testing Center in the Office of Career and Professional Development Services.
  4. If, in the judgment of a faculty member, at the beginning of the semester, the number of projected missed classes would jeopardize the student-athlete’s successful completion of the course, the faculty member may recommend that the student-athlete enroll in another course where fewer scheduling conflicts would occur. It is expected that the faculty member and the student make a sincere effort to resolve conflicts concerning coursework and class expectations. This is especially the case if this course is a graduation requirement.
  5. In the event that there is a conflict between missed class dates and core academic activities which cannot be avoided or resolved, the student-athlete shall immediately contact their academic advisor and the director of student-athlete services.

Throughout the Academic Year

  1. NCAA bylaws mandate that no student-athlete shall miss a class to attend a practice session.
  2. Exceptions to any of the above policies for special tournaments and competitions, including championship play, must be approved by the FAR, the Athletics Academic Advisory Committee, and the provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management.
  3. Student-athletes who have reason to question the equitable implementation of this policy should bring this matter to the attention of the FAR.
  4. In the event a student-athlete misses class due to an extended illness, injury, or emergency, the director of student-athlete services will notify the student-athlete’s faculty members of these circumstances and the likelihood of additional class absences. However, the student-athlete is responsible for following up with each professor to arrange for completing make-up work.
  5. Faculty members should not excuse a student-athlete in the case of unauthorized absences.

Questions about the application of this policy may be directed to the Faculty Athletics Representative.


This policy is distributed via the Division of Athletics, the Academic Advisory Council, and the University Policies webpage.