Priority registration for athletes gets first big test

As the end of the winter term approaches, students are beginning their adviser meetings for spring term.

This term, like last, athletes of all four years will receive the opportunity to register with seniors on Monday, Jan. 30. The early registration is designed to alleviate problems with scheduling around practices and games for athletes.

“It is necessary to do because our practice times are set before we register, and we need to work our classes around the practice times,” senior lacrosse player Ally Keirn said.

Even so, spring term could have a few more issues than winter. Only five athletic teams are in-season during the winter term. There are 11 teams that have the priority registration option for spring term.

There will be between 150 and 170 underclassmen-athletes registering with the senior class. A little less than 90 athletes were eligible for priority registration for winter term.

“The athletes will be put into a pool with the other seniors eligible to register, and they will be randomly assigned times to register during that day,” Michele Wheaton, assistant vice president of academic services, said.

As athletes go through the process of registration, the new times are considered extremely helpful.

“It is completely necessary to register early,” softball player Sydney Cuscino said. “When you include travel days it is even more difficult because leaving class isn’t an option.”

Athletes and professors already have to deal with missed classes because of games, but with the extended class times it is more complicated.

“It is tough to leave the same class every Friday when we travel for games. It’s really stressful,” Keirn said.

Even though these athletes have the option to register with seniors, it does not mean they will. During the winter registration period, it was estimated that 20 percent of the eligible athletes did not register early.

Once the time for the athletes has passed, anyone who hasn’t registered is put back into their respective class registration times.

Additionally, winter sports teams will not be able to register early this term. Teams are only allowed to register early during their season of play. Even if a team’s schedule spans past a given term, they are still not eligible for priority registration.

The change in athlete registration is because of the change in class times before winter term.

“The challenge athletes have is their ideal schedule is different than other students,” Dean of Faculty Brian Reed, Ph.D., said.

With so many more athletes registering early this term, will there be more of a problem getting into classes?

“We carefully watch the number of seats left in classes, and that’s something we did even before the early registration this year,” said Wheaton. “We want to make sure all our students get the classes they need to earn their degrees.”

The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) is still gathering information on the early registration to determine how helpful it is and whether it is worth doing next year.

“We haven’t committed to anything yet for fall term,” said Andrea Barnett, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. “We have only had one term to implement this system, and it is too early to make a judgment.”

Spring term will be a big test to whether early registration will continue next year. The spring represents the largest group of athletes registering with seniors and will be an indicator of just how much it affects the rest of the student body.

To date, OAA has received only one complaint about the new system. Barnett and OAA are hopeful that despite more athletes registering, it will go over as smooth as the winter term.