Cutting through the misinformation in comparing Virginia and Virginia Tech academic suspensions (e.g., one Hokie suspended per NCAA rules v. multiple Wahoos eligible under NCAA rules but suspended per Virginia rules), Doug does actually have a good point regarding the disparity in longevity for academic advisers at both schools.
As reported in The Roanoke Times last week, Virginia football has had five different academic coordinators in five years.
At Virginia Tech, where two coordinators are directly responsible for football, Colin Howlett is in his 11th year as an advisor to the football team and Sarah Armstrong is in her fifth.
And this matters for obvious reasons:
“When you’ve got new people all the time, they don’t know the deans,” he told me. “They don’t know the professors. They don’t know what courses to take. They don’t know what courses not to take.
“Sometimes, they don’t even know where the buildings are. For instance, you would try to take classes back-to-back on opposite sides of campus.”
“The best people for these positions are former student-athletes, but these jobs are seen as steppingstone positions. Academic advising is not seen as a destination.”
Perhaps, if the pay were better, it could be. When Virginia needed a strength coach for football, it went after the No. 2 strength coach at Florida, which had just won the national championship.
The academic situation for Virginia’s athletes is one that I think needs more attention on the blog and elsewhere given recent events (understament of the January-from-hell?), so consider this a kick-off post. I’m wondering if the University is creating high standards (relative to other schools) for its football players and setting them up for failure with inadequate support. Not being able to retain an academic advisor during a player’s four years is one thing, but having a new advisor every single year of a player’s four years indicates a disturbing trend.