Sean Duffy: Professor and NCAA representative

By on October 9, 2003

Political science professor, Sean Duffy begins his third year as Quinnipiac University’s Faculty Athletic Representative. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires Duffy to oversee the athletic program from an academic perspective.

Duffy more than qualifies for the position having participated in crew during college.

The faculty rep says that he has “respect for student athletes because as a whole they have great time management and are hard workers.”

Duffy notes that this was not always the case.

In the 1980’s controversy surrounded college athletes because they were forgetting the word “student” in the title “student-athlete.”

The NCAA instituted faculty representatives to help encourage students with their academic performance.

Duffy works collectively with Compliance Officer, Tracy Flynn to ensure athletes’ eligibility.

One of his main responsibilities is to request waivers that bypass credit or grade point average requirements so that student athletes may still partake in their sport.

He mentions waivers are a last resort in maintaining eligibility.

Duffy also writes recommendations for graduate student scholarships that are sanctioned by the NCAA.

In the classroom, Quinnipiac athletes’ rank 9th in Division I-AAA for the highest graduation rate; and at the closure of the last semester, 33 spring athletes made the Northeast Conference Honor Roll.

“Usually, they are great students because of their work-ethic,” Duffy said.

When dealing with athlete’s in the classroom Duffy offers no special attention.

There is a significant importance in upholding them to the same standards as any student.

However, Duffy does offer much encouragement and support to athletes who have a rigorous schedule.

Duffy’s involvement with the NCAA allows him to be understanding when it comes to absences and making up missed work.

Situations in which professors preemptively judge students because of their participation in athletics does occur in some instances; but according to Duffy, this is not a big problem on the Quinnipiac campus.

Despite the unfairness of unwarranted judgments, Duffy understands the logic behind it.

“Some professors have a passionate commitment to their field and often times they want the student to make it a number one priority as well, even above sports,” Duffy said.

The Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) is a growing organization amongst student athletes.

Part of being an NCAA representative requires Duffy to attend meetings regularly, where he works to have the athletes develop a collective voice to make their concerns heard.

“As an institution we need to find ways to make the voice more meaningful,” Duffy said.

Since the start of meetings this semester SAAC has already established its main goal: to make its role more apparent.

Duffy mentions a current accomplishment of the organization which he would like to see carried out to the entire student body.

Senior baseball player, Dave Bennett, implemented a plan which encourages athletes to support other teams.

According to Duffy, the program needs to be outreached so that the rest of the student body supports athletic events.

Additionally, Duffy said that the Faculty-Liaison program has help to unite athletes with members of the faculty.

The program assigns a faculty sponsor to each team to help them achieve their academic goals for the semester.

Duffy’s own experience as a student-athlete helps him to relate with needs of his current student-athletes.

“I try to be friendly and open to the concerns of student-athletes,” Duffy said.

“I am always willing to work with them regarding missed class time,” he continued.

Duffy makes it an obligation and a priority to show his support for Quinnipiac athletes by attending games for each team at least once throughout the year.

His support fosters the idea of having a healthy balance between sports and schoolwork.

Duffy said that his goal as an NCAA representative for Quinnipiac is “for student-athletes to have the best academic and athletic careers possible.”


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