Hamilton College is an academic institution. Although the College is committed to athletics as part of a liberal education, student-athletes are students first. Student-athletes at Hamilton have the same academic obligations as other students.
All parties—coaches, instructors, and students—have certain responsibilities in assuring that students are able to balance their academic and athletic activities. Coaches, instructors, and students shall communicate with each other and work together to minimize conflicts. However, in the case of irreconcilable conflict, academic requirements take priority.
Coaches should inform team members at the beginning of the season about obligations arising from team participation that may conflict with academic obligations, including starting times for home contests and practices and departure times for away contests, or that will require students to participate in team activities when classes are not in session. They should also remind students that they must inform their instructors about possible conflicts and make alternative arrangements as early in the term as possible. Students who make such efforts in timely fashion but who cannot be accommodated by the instructor or who choose to honor their academic obligation rather than that to the athletic team should not have their standing with the team jeopardized.
Individual instructors set attendance policies for their courses. Instructors should inform students at the beginning of the first class meeting about course obligations that may conflict with athletic obligations. Instructors are encouraged to accommodate students who wish to make alternative arrangements for completing course obligations because of conflicts arising from athletic team schedules. Athletes may not be held to standards of attendance that are different from those of other students. In courses in which the instructor will not make accommodation, students should be informed during the drop-add week so that they have the option of taking other courses.
Students must inform instructors at the beginning of the term about conflicts with class obligations—including attendance—caused by membership on an athletic team. Should alternative arrangements for completing course obligations not be possible, the student should immediately inform the coach.
Mandatory athletic practices, including suiting up or other preparations for practice, may not require absence from class. Although instructors are expected to end classes by 3:50 p.m., the Athletic Department recognizes that on occasion, especially with labs, a special situation may require a student to stay beyond that time. Under no circumstances will a coach penalize a student for arriving late as a result of participation in a regularly scheduled academic activity.
In keeping with its commitment to providing an athletic program for student-athletes who value and respect the fundamental educational goals of the College, the College bases its athletic scheduling policy on the need to provide for the integrity of the athletic program while recognizing the priority of academic requirements. The College considers as maximal limits the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regulations on dates for beginning and ending of athletic seasons, numbers of contests allowed for each sport, and post-season tournament competition
In addition, the following rules govern the scheduling of athletic practices as well as the resolution of conflicts with academic obligations.
NESCAC regulations stipulate that captain's practices "are to be conditioning and fitness workouts. Captains may not conduct organized technical and tactical practices out of season. No fall captains' fitness workouts may be conducted before students are required to be on campus by virtue of the academic calendar" (NESCAC Manual, 17). Hamilton College further stipulates that (1) players are under no circumstances required to attend any captain's practice, and (2) captains' practices are not to be held between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
General oversight of athletic scheduling will be a responsibility of the VP/Dean, who will address questions and problems of coaches, instructors, and students; and report annually to the Committee on Athletics on the effectiveness of the rules, the exceptions granted that year, and any problems. Responsibility for setting these rules and supervising their implementation lies with the Committee on Athletics, which will revise the regulations as needed.
Coaches, instructors, and students who have questions about the implementation of these regulations or any problems that they are not able to resolve among themselves should meet with the VP/Dean.