Irwin Academic Center is a second home to student athletes


Ryan Fang

Student athletes study at the Irwin Academic Center on Sunday.

By Brooke Eberle, Contributing writer

On the corner of Fourth Street and Armory Avenue is a large beige building with gray trim and arches lining the front porch.

While this building may look much like it’s home to a fraternity or sorority, it’s more of a second home to many student athletes.

The Irwin Academic Center used to be a fraternity house that was created in 1920. However, in 1997 the house was transformed into a place for student athletes to study, and in 2007 the house underwent a $4.6 million renovation which added individual study rooms, a computer lab and a presentation room.

Around 500 student athletes that compete in Division I athletics use the facility to study and keep up on their classes, said Marlon Dechausay, associate athletic director for academic services.

Some of the student athletes have required study halls that they must spend at the center. During their freshman year, athletes typically have to study eight to 10 hours per week there, and after that, their GPA determines the number of weekly study hours they need to complete per semester.

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Aaron Jordan, sophomore in Media and men’s basketball player, said the basketball team does not have a specific amount of study hours per week because its athletic schedule can get pretty hectic.

“It depends on when we are traveling, but we usually study there every day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” Jordan said.

Jordan also said he meets with the academic counselors  often. Jordan meets with a counselor twice a week in the morning but also likes to pop in to talk after classes just to check in.

Being a cinema studies major, Jordan is able to meet with one of the tutors in the College of Media in order to stay on top of his classes.

The center offers tutors for specific subjects as well as academic coaches that focus more on building the skills to become a successful student, like time management.

Zakary Gaylord, senior in AHS, tutors students in recreation, sports and tourism classes at the Irwin Academic Center where he can earn some extra money.

As for the specifics of tutoring, he said “tutoring is by appointment. Usually it’s one to two-hour-long appointments a week for me, but for engineering and science tutors, it’s more. Undergraduate tutors get paid $10 per hour, and graduate students get paid $12 per hour.”

Dechausay said over 100 appointments are made by students wanting to meet with an academic coach, so the tutoring is utilized quite a bit by the student athletes.

The tutors for students athletes are paid for by the athletic department, which has a budget allocated to ensure that the students are on top of their classes and successful in their academic career along with their sports careers.

“The athletes are serious about getting help, and it’s very helpful for them. People would be shocked at just how hectic their schedules are,” Gaylord said.

The Irwin Academic Center is exclusively committed to helping the student athletes succeed.

“Between practice and games and traveling and classes, I think it’s kind of nice that they know that there’s a place for them.” Dechausay said. “They know they can always find place here to study and feel comfortable, like their home away from home.”

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