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Student athletes do not receive academic credit

April 30, 2009

Student-athletes at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout may earn academic credit for playing on university sports teams, but this is not the case at UW-River Falls.

UW-Eau Claire’s policy for student-athletes receiving physical education credit is stated in the UW-Eau Claire Men’s & Women’s Athletic Eligibility Requirements, which says “A student can receive one credit for participating an entire season in his/her sport.

This credit can count toward the physical education activity credit required for graduation. This credit is applied at the end of the term and should not be figured into the 12 credits required by a student-athlete to be eligible during the term.”

“It is completely up to the department as to whether athletes are allowed to receive credit at different UW schools. But it is not an individual choice; it is a department policy that is accepted by our university,” Matt Wiggins, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at UW-Eau Claire, said.

UW-Stout also offers physical education to student-athletes, although they must first take a lecture physical education class called Orientation to Intercollegiate Athletics. After they take the lecture class, they can register for athletics as a credit.

“At Stout you can count a maximum of two P.E. credits total towards a degree as a general education requirement, so by the time they take the orientation class only one credit after that actually counts,” UW-Stout Athletic Director Joe Harlan said.

UWRF football Head Coach John O’Grady explained that “the UW campuses do have some independence today and they do a lot of things differently from one another.”

Some student-athletes at UWRF are unhappy with not having this option and confused as to why it is not offered.

Kathryn Krause, a member of the UWRF women’s cross country and track teams, said “I do think it is a bit ridiculous that we are required to take P.E. classes when all year long I’m doing some sort of physical workout pretty much every day. We even learn about muscles, weights, nutrition, strength training and recovery.”

Cassi Campbell, a member of the UWRF women’s hockey team, agreed.

“I think the amount of time we spend toward our respective sports is more than an equivalent to the amount of time directed toward a P.E. class,” Campbell said.

Perhaps the UWRF student-athletes’ viewpoint is best described by Bailey Vikstrom, a member of the UWRF women’s hockey team.

“I think that we should get P.E. credit for being an athlete because I don’t think weÕre given enough credit,” Vikstrom said.

“While I’m here practicing three hours out of my day, other students get to take those P.E. classes for only 50 minutes and they are given credit for that. Student athletes are always getting the shaft when it comes to academics. If other schools are doing this, why isn’t River Falls following along?”