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Student Athlete Academic Center

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The Student-Athlete Academic Center was established under the College of General Studies.  The center is managed by the Director of the Center who has the responsibility of bridging the areas of Academics and Athletics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

All students at UL Lafayette face a demanding academic challenge, and the student-athlete has many more demands made upon their time and energy.  The objective of the Student-Athlete Academic Center is to assist each student-athlete in all areas of his/her academic life by promoting academics as being essential to total success.

The Student-Athlete Academic Center is housed on the Mezzanine floor of the Conference Center, room 160M.  In addition to the Director, there are two assistants, an administrative assistant and five student workers.

                        Danny K. Cottonham                Director

                        Lane Luneau                            Assistant

                        Christy Alford                           Assistant

                        Terry Latiolais                         Administrative Assistant

                        Michelle Bergeaux Smith       Student Assistant

                        Ray Orphe                               Student Assistant

                        Suzanne Boudreaux               Student Assistant

                        Lonna Sonnier                         Student Assistant

Student Athlete Academic Center

            The University of Louisiana’s Student Athlete Academic Center, providing academic support services to the Ragin Cajuns student-athletes, is just as important to an athlete’s development as the weight room or the training room.  In fact, says Danny Cottonham, Director of the Student Athlete Academic Center, “it’s probably even more important in the long haul.”

            “We’re here to help our student-athletes in an area that will benefit them the rest of their lives,” Cottonham said.  “After our student athletes finish their athletic careers, we want them all to have the academic experience to not only finish their degree, but to make a meaningful contribution to society with what they have learned.

            Cottonham has served on the Louisiana Lafayette staff for 29 years and has been in the position of overseeing the academic support services for student athletes for the past 24 years.  He and his staff, including two full time academic counselors and an administrative assistant and several student assistants help maintain and provide academic services to 400 student athletes.

            Ragin Cajun first-time freshman student-athletes are required to attend orientation and study skills, which includes instruction in time management, study techniques, campus resources and NCAA Continuing Eligibility requirements.

            In addition, all first semester student athletes and all continuing student athletes who fall below a certain grade point average are assigned to participate in a mandatory study hall program.  This program is held in the Student Athlete Academic Center computer/study lab and tutoring lab and is monitored from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 a.m. until noon on Fridays.

            In addition to orientation, study skills classes, study hall, tutoring and academic advising, the Center’s staff works closely with faculty advisors in all of the 81 different degree programs offered through Louisiana Lafayette’s eight undergraduate colleges.

            “Many of our faculty advisors are not aware of the NCAA rules regarding minimum requirements, degree percentage or satisfactory progress,” Cottonham said, “So it’s very important for us to establish a relationship with advisors throughout campus.  In a real sense my staff has to become somewhat knowledgeable and clear regarding all of the curriculums where we have student-athletes, so that we can best serve them.”

            The Center is also responsible for assisting student athletes with class registration each semester in addition to the progress reports that are sent two or three times each semester to every faculty member of a student-athlete.  Cottonham commented, “The registration allows us to register and secure their classes at times that will present the fewest conflicts with athletic practice, travel and a completion schedule.”  He further states that, “the progress reports are the most valuable tools we have during the course of a semester that helps us to access and make adjustments based on how well our student athletes are performing in the class room.”