April 11, 2012
Liz Mannis, Texas Media Relations
Freshman and sophomore football players gathered with academic advisors at the Texas Club on Tuesday, April 3, to discuss their academic progress and future goals.
Brian Davis, associate athletics director for academic services, kicked off the 15th Annual Major Exploration banquet by stressing that academic advisors are on campus to help students be successful and graduate on time.
"There are so many people on this campus that do a tremendous job helping students. And they understand the uniqueness of helping our kids, whether it's the time commitments they have, or the stress put on them from the outside," said Davis. "They are wonderful, highly skilled, compassionate professionals. At the same time, they push our kids to be successful."
Davis stressed that ultimately, it is the responsibility of the students to seek out and take advantage of the opportunities available throughout campus for them.
"There are a lot of opportunities. Choices to be made. Goals to be set and achieved. But it requires [the student athletes] to do it, and to understand their responsibilities," said Davis. "We hope when they're through, that they have a mechanism to give back to future Longhorns."
The event, organized by academic and life skills counselor Jean Bryant, featured former UT football walk-on and current assistant dean of the College of Education, Richard Hogeda, as the keynote speaker.
"Advisors are the smartest people on campus," said Hogeda. "They know the ins and outs of everything."
Hogeda spoke to the endless resources on campus available to students, emphasizing the importance of academic advisors and the role they play in the academic careers of student athletes.
"The biggest thing that I was trying to get across is that there are people all across this campus that are here to help and support them. I think sometimes the student-athletes lose sight of that," said Hogeda. "It's important for them to get those connections early on, because that's what is going to carry with life after football."
Hogeda recalled his experiences as a student-athlete here at Texas, and the lessons he took away from his UT football career.
"When football is done, you have the whole rest of your life," said Hogeda. "Figure out what your passion is, what you want to be beyond football. And then build your network."
For sophomore quarterback David Ash, the event was most helpful in making connections with the academic advisors on hand.
"Having relationships is so important," remarked Ash. "So being able to know these people who really care about you and want to help see that you succeed, makes a world of a difference."
Nancy Sutherland, College of Liberal Arts academic advising coordinator, was seated at a table with sophomore running back Malcolm Brown, where they discussed his future endeavors.
"We talked about his dream job sometime in the future. And how many different areas of study could get him to that point," explained Sutherland. "The key is to finish a degree and stay on track, and he is on track."
Sutherland explained how the event is one of the favorites for academic advisors and how it helps the athletes throughout their entire academic careers.
"[The advisors] love it," said Sutherland. "And it's beneficial to [the students]. They get to meet us on a friendlier, casual basis. Then when they come to our office it will make it so much easier for them to talk to us."
The NCAA requires student-athletes to declare a major by their fifth semester. For Brown, who is approaching that timeline, he was able to gain some insight about his options and the support he will have in making decisions.
"It helped out quite a bit," Brown said. "It just showed us how many people are behind us and support us. Just talking to these people, they were giving us so much advice. So many options."