Yale University has adjusted its dean's excuse policy as it applies to student-athletes whose travel commitments interfere with their in-class obligations.

According to the Yale Daily News, the previous policy allowed for deans to grant an excuse from class only when a student-athlete was physically off campus at the exact time of an in-class obligation, such as an exam or a presentation. Moving forward, if varsity athletes return to campus from an athletic event after midnight, they will now be able to obtain a dean’s excuse for in-class obligations taking place that day.

"The new policy is an adjustment needed for varsity athletes to have the ability to turn in their best work," Mia Grillo, a forward on the women’s soccer team, told the News. "There have been times where I have struggled to meet deadlines after traveling with the team and have been reluctant to ask for a dean's excuse knowing such a request would be improbable, resulting in turning in work I didn't feel good about. I hope this will allow student athletes to focus in times of competition without compromising our performance on academic assignments."

It's not expected that the policy will be called upon often. Brian Tompkins, who oversees student services within the Department of Athletics, told the News that coaches are "extremely cognizant" of academic commitments that student-athletes may have and try to schedule competitions accordingly. However, on "rare occasions," teams return to campus after midnight because of travel arrangements.

The change, which began with a focus group of varsity team captains assembled last semester, standardizes the policy and removes the discretion of individual academic deans. "For instance, if a student came back late from a game, one Dean might give them a Dean's Excuse for their 9 am class but another might not," Yale College Council senator Sophia Caro wrote in an email to the News. "This caused a lot of stress for athletes when going on road trips as they never knew what response they would get, making it difficult for them to plan ahead."

 

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.