Evaluating an Athletes Services Program

Athlete students have to find a delicate balance between commitment to sport and academic study. It is highly important to understand what comes first sport or classes. In fact, all students are forced to give privilege to school, as NCAA regulations state that students must keep a minimum GPA of 1.8 during academic year. One of the people, who help to meet such requirements, is academic advisor. Despite the fact that due to extensive trainings and possible travels students might miss some classes, there are identified academic hours, which have to be attended. These hours are determined by university advisers and coaches so that participation in sport events would not affect students academically. The statistics shows that these students are able to gain higher GPA that the general students public. Several reasons to this are the NCAA regulations and students’ inner motivation (Bundy, 2009). Nevertheless, psychological issues of college student athletes have been considered. Recently, the NCAA has come to realize significance of counseling and mental heath issues that exist within student athletes. Therefore, it is highly important to analyze advisement programs aimed at solving the issues of eating disorders, behavior disorders and learning disabilities, as well as to see which advising strategies are currently utilized in the Division 1 major universities, under the NCAA regulation.

The University of South Carolina has a special Counseling & Human Development Center (CHDC), which provides USC students with a secure ability to voice confidentially the concerns to a professional counselor. These concerns may encompass pressure, trepidation, desolation, doldrums, relationship problems and concerns, issues concerning individuality, eating problems, substance utilization concerns, sexuality issues, controlling and managing  mental health condition or any other problem or concern. The center offers a wide range of mental health counseling and psychological services including individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, suicide prevention services and crisis intervention services (Counseling & human development center, 2014). Professionally trained staff provides students with exceptional services during their transition to college or while they continue their studies at the University.  The office works with students with “learning, physical, healt, or psychiatric disabilities in managing the varying demands of the University experience” (Counseling & human development center, 2014).

Counseling & Human Development Center (CHDC) provides services and counseling regarding various eating disorders. First of all, the counselor utilizes special EA-26 test, assists students in defining whether the student requires to speak to a mental health professional or a physician. This procedure will take approximately two minutes to complete. The test EAT-26 is not created to put the diagnosis of an existing eating disorder or to replace a professional diagnosis or consultation. The students are required to answer each question precisely, fairly and clearly. All of the results are absolute confidential. Depending on the score of the student, he or she is advised to “make an appointment with SHS Doctors, Mental Health Professionals, or dietitians” (Eating disorders, 2014). Presently, Counseling & Human Development Center (CHDC) of the University of South California works with anorexia nervosa and related eating disorders and  bulimia. The University of South Carolina Student Health Services (SHS) has a group of professional practitioners, experienced in helping students, to deal with maladjusted consuming conducts and eating disorders (Counseling & human development center, 2014).

Eating disorders are widespread among college-age females. In fact, they are much less predominant among males, but it has to be noted that approximately 10 to 25 percent of individuals with eating disorders are males (Watson, 2006). Eating disorders are the consequence of a conjugation of agents, which incorporate genetics, individuality, socio-cultural oppressions concerning slimness, social doctrine and family issues (Levitt, 2008). Regardless of the fact that sport partaking for the majority of individuals is a healthful practice, possibilities of the sport surroundings can raise the risk of eating disorder. In fact, eating disorders often start or become worse in the process of transition, including the time when an individual leaves home in order to attend college (Etzel, 2009). Due to the fact that eating disorders typically are triggered by diet regime restrictions,, they have a tendency to be more predominant in sports, which require a thin build or  low weight, such as diving, athletics or lightweight rowing (Cotugna, Connie & Sheldon, 2005). Anorexia is probably the most well-known eating disorder, provoking its victims to be afraid of the weight gain and limit their dieting regime in a morbid way (Levitt, 2008). A person having anorexia is potential to acknowledge himself as overweight, even in the case when he has normal or even below normal weight. Such  acknowledgement coupled with other emotive agents usually provokes the victim restrict the variety of food and starve themselves to get to the lowest weight possible (Etzel, 2009). The advisors indicate that the problem often arises from decreased self-regard and incapacity to deal or control complicated emotions. Athlete students suffering from anorexia may consider that they will only be contemned if they gain a particular weight. Unfortunately, eating disorder prevails, starting to become an ordinary replication arrangement, which is highly complicated to overcome (Levitt, 2008).

The program and special services for athlete students demonstrate the importance of utilizing therapies in dealing with the problem. Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) is a therapeutic method, which observes and analyses the past of student-athlete in order to find out any morbid scheme of behavior or speculation (Watson, 2006). Comprehending the way how past occurrences might have collaborated to student-athlete’s eating disorder will provide the student a better understanding of his problem (Levitt, 2008). After this has been established, the advisor or therapist is able to assist the student to define which alterations can be made in order to change such mental patterns. Moreover, an advisor may recommend a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a growingly common therapy utilized for eating disorders. (Cotugna, Connie & Sheldon, 2005). CBT is based on the assumption that the way people speculate or perceive a particular occurrence influences the way people behave and vice versa. In addition, advisors may utilize interpersonal therapy (IPT), which converts around relationships, meaning the relationships with other people and relationships with the world around them, together with the way these relationships influence people’s mental health. When IPT is applicable to anorexia, it will practically assist to find out any problems or bad conjunctions a person can have with his/her interpersonal relationships (Levitt, 2008).

As mentioned above, the advisors of the University of South Carolina also work with bulimia nervosa, which is considered to be a demure psychological eating disorder, and might be even life-menacing if it is left untreated (Cotugna, Connie & Sheldon, 2005). Athlete students with this problem have an anxiety of getting additional weight and thus, utilize various methods in order to get rid of the food they have consumed, including superfluous training practices, taking cathartics or forced eructating (Cotugna, Connie & Sheldon, 2005). People suffering from bulimia have a tendency to have an anomalous or unrealistic fear of  food consumed (Eating disorders, 2014).

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Similar to the general number of diseases, the longer a person is afflicted by bulimia, the worse his general state will become (Cotugna, Connie & Sheldon, 2005). That is why it is crucial to attempt and define bulimia as soon as possible, and look for assistance directly if any concerns appear. Acknowledging that a person has a problem is the first significant step in bulimia treatment as such. It is probable to convalesce from the disease, but it might be a prolonged and complicated process. Therefore, bulimia victims will require to have a true desire to get better (Etzel, 2009). Bulimia therapy includes a group of medical practitioners, dietitians and mental health experts, including a counselor who provides  assistance for bulimia victims (Kissinger & Miller, 2009). It is obvious that South Carolina University advisor will assist an athlete student to find these specific professionals, who will help to deal with the illness. The counselors

specialize in eating disorders ensuring healthy and necessary origin of nutrition for victims, including assistance in revealing the issues together with defining any psychological origins of unhealthy eating habits (Cotugna, Connie & Sheldon, 2005). Additional services typically include sessions, which practically retract above-mentioned cognitive behavioral therapy methods, which are created to assist athlete students to alter their positions concerning food and weight, while educating them to work more efficiently with emotive problems (Etzel, 2009).

In fact, therapy for athlete students with eating disorders provided at South Carolina University includes a multidisciplinary angle where professionals from a number of health-related disciplines meet regularly with student-athletes with eating disorder issues. The treatment team incorporates medical practitioners, psychologists, nurse dietarians and special counselors who meet every week in order to synchronize the therapies of all students who suffer from eating disorders. Services of Counseling & Human Development Center (CHDC) incorporate personal and in-group psychotherapeutics, nutritive counseling and permanent medical analysis from professional practitioners, who have interest and expertise in dealing with various eating disorders. Such treatment and therapies can be quite efficient; however, it is important to remember that in some situations athlete-students might require services to ensure their safeness in order to define in optimal way. The team analyses accomplishments and progress of eating-disordered students each week and makes impatient recommendation only when it is appropriate. In fact, the team will have to consult with other professional practitioners as well as the family members of the student, only having the written consent of the student, as it is mandated by the regulations.

Usually, when people speculate about student-athlete’s well-being, they are favorable to consider initially the person’s physical and medical state and concerning the probable influences the injury might have on the overall athletic performance. Therefore, a student-athlete’s ‘mental health’ can be believed to be secondary to physical health. However, it is important to understand that it actually makes little sense to detach the mind from the body and vice versa. In fact, one affects the other. (Etzel, 2009).

Mood and behavioral disorders are known as active disorders often referred to as depression. It is normsl that the majority of people might feel depressed from time to time for a wide range of reasons (Etzel, 2009). However, in case when the depression continues for a longer period and happens more often, analysis and treatment are required (Kissinger & Miller, 2009). Despite the fact that most food disorders originally include decreased mood levels or depression, in a case of bipolar disorder, it will consist of incidents of abnormally high mood, in addition to featuring decreased levels of mood (Watson, 2006). Such disorders can seriously influences the majority of spheres of a person’s life, and athletic performance is not an exclusion. In fact, worse performance might be noticed. In case when a student suffers from insufficient eating or sleeping and has a sensation of being exhausted or fatigued, his academic or sport performance might lower (Etzel, 2009). In a situation, when the decreased mood, lowered motivation, bad focus and negatory thinking is appointed to the overall emotive and cognitive constituents, it is not possible to await that a student-athlete will perform well. Bas sport performance can raise a student-athlete’s depression level and the oppression to work better. In fact, doldrums may also elevate a student-athlete’s hazard of damaging and injuries (Kissinger & Miller, 2009). However, depression is not the only behavior disorder problem. A number of investigators show that depression can lead to a suicide, which is the second reason of death among college students. About three suicides happen on a daily basis among college students, and seven to ten percent of college students either attempt or behold suicide in a given year. The probability of suicide endeavors and suicide itself makes depression one of the most dangerous disorders (Watson, 2006). Despite the fact that early credential and therapy are crucial for all mental disorders, they are the most significant for mood disorders due to possibility for self-harm (Etzel, 2009). Coaches sometimes desire to believe that student-athletes are sound only due to the fact that they are athletes. Coaches should keep in mind that these people are not only student-athletes. They are human beings with the similar weaknesses as non-athletes. These people are young individuals attempting to cope with all of the difficulties of life, college requirements and obstinacy, which sometimes usher athletic performance (Kissinger & Miller, 2009).

University of South Carolina provides special suicide prevention training along with the additional suicide prevention lifeline as an additional service (Counseling & human development center, 2014). Counseling & Human Development Center (CHDC) conducts a special program of ‘Suicide Prevention’, which teaches athlete-students to acknowledge and learn the warning signs of suicide before the person or a friend of a person is in a stressful situation. The program teaches students to be direct and honest in order to be able to express the concerns regarding personal or somebody else’s emotional distress. The special suicide prevention training provided by Counseling & Human Development Center (CHDC) also assists the students in accomplishing presumptions in how to react to warning signs of suicidal person together with the early sign of depression. Training programs allow students to become so-called ‘gatekeepers’ who will be able to assist a struggling person in getting the help they require. Due to the fact that students are not mental health professionals, they can only serve as ‘gatekeepers’ to mental health services (Suicide prevention training, 2014).

Furthermore, the University of South Carolina has a special Office of Student Disability Services, which delegates students to deal with and control challenges and restrictions posed by learning disabilities. The University of South Carolina Academic Enrichment Center attempts to grant omnibus services in order to better the academic abilities and capacities of student-athletes, those who makes shifts in the classroom, in particular. At the time when some of the partakers in the Learning Enhancement Programs are defined by the department staff, student-athletes are provided with possibility to self-define in order to benefit from one or more the proposed services (Office of student disability, 2014). The program is an example of the proactive position to help these students in accommodating to the college life, preserving desirable and congruent levels of academic performance and helping in various educational requirements.

The academic and life capacity evolvement requirements of the intercollegiate student-athlete are typically obliterated in the higher education settings. In fact, college and university personnel often wrongly undertake that due to the fact that a person is an intercollegiate student-athlete, the majority of the requirements are already met. However, the contrary situation may usually be the case. Student-athletes are firstly the students, and therefore, they have to be beheld by all college and university personnel as synthetic individuals with requirements and desires peculiar to that of student-athletes (Office of student disability, 2014). Student-athletes meet with a set of inimitable problems, which end up as fundamentally distinctive learning practices. These incorporate the following issues: accommodation to contesting requirements, reaction to negatory stereotypes, requirements for the inimitable sustain services and dealing with learning disabilities. Therefore, University of South Carolina provides various programs for the athlete-students with learning disabilities. One of the programs provides a wide range of learning services incorporating learning guidance, subject-peculiar tutoring, learning expert services, educational evaluation, academic counseling, summer lintel course and additional technology for all student-athletes, with a concentration on those who have disabilities and semi-trained or low-skilled students. In fact, University of South Carolina utilizes special ‘Enrichment Services’, incorporating tutoring and learning guidance (Office of student disability, 2014). ‘Enrichment Services’, which include special ‘Tutor Program’ and the ‘Academic Mentor Program’, attempts to help student-athletes in evolving the expertness and capabilities required for prosperous implementation of their coursework. Putting student-athletes in a position to be prosperous academically is highly crucial. Tutors and guiders working for the Academic Enrichment Center have serious academic qualifications and place a high value on education as such. They endow student-athletes with course-peculiar promotion, assisting them to evolve working and useful study capabilities. ‘Enrichment Services’ holds elevated standards of expertise, privacy and learning wholeness (Office of student disability, 2014).

Nevertheless, these are not the only programs provided by University of South Carolina. The university also endows special academic and support programs and services, as additional to programs and services helping with eating disorders, behavior disorders and learning disabilities (Counseling & human development center, 2014).

Firstly, university has made general academic counseling and tutoring services accessible to all student-athletes. Such counseling and tutoring services may be endowed by the Department of Athletics or with the help of the institution’s nonathletic student services. In addition, the university may finance other academic and support services that the university, at its discretion, defines to be corresponding and indispensable for academic prosperity of its student-athletes. The university provides a number of support services. Firstly, it allows utilization of university computers and typewriters on a reimbursement ground, hence, being the support for the course requirements, in which a student-athlete is enrolled. Secondly, utilization of copy machines, fax machines and Internet, including any incidental costs, which is endowed for usage due to the objectives pertaining to implementation of the academic coursework. Thirdly, it provides the usage of special course supplies (e.g., calculators, art supplies, computer disks, subscriptions), due to the fact that these course supplies are mandatory to all students and projected in the universality directory or course outline. Fourthly, university endows the costs of a field trip, in the cases when the field trip is mandatory to all students in the course and the payment for such trips is identified in the university directory (Counseling & human development center, 2014).

In fact, a student-athlete should meet corresponding NCAA, SEC and USC ordinance to be eligible for special institutional financial aid, which is also provided as the additional support service. If these ordinance laws are met, the student-athlete may be bestowed with the university financial aid during any term in which a student-athlete is in permanent presence during that term. Moreover, there are additional special regulations, which have to be adhered by student-athlete. On the one hand, the student-athlete has to be an undergraduate with eligibility remaining under the five-year or ten-semester rule. (Counseling & human development center, 2014).

In fact, the program developed by University of South Carolina encompasses all problematic spheres of athlete-students. The program includes special departments and professional teams, which work precisely with eating disorders, behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. Moreover, the University provides its athlete students with special academic and support programs and services, which are conducted especially to maintain NCAA eligibility. The programs provided by University of South California regarding eating disorder issues and behavioral disorder problems are of high standard and quality, allowing the students to gain the information concerning possible problems and outcomes of these disorders. The university applies professionally trained advisors, who are able to assist athlete students in all problematic situations, preventing them from probable difficulties and negative outcomes. Moreover, the university is interested in teaching students to be honest and courageous while dealing with all problematic situations regardless whether they happen to them personally or to someone from their acquaintances circle. However, the programs are aimed to deal with the most popular issues only, avoiding some special, particular and uncommon disorders. For example, programs and services omit such eating disorders as binge-eating disorder and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). Nevertheless, University of South Carolina has a number of programs on behavioral disorders, understanding that mental health is as much important as physical health. It is obvious that programs cannot enroll all types of disorders, however, they help to find specialists in the sphere who will be able to deal with the problem. As University of South Carolina is supposed to maintain NCAA eligibility, there are special academic advisors, who deal with learning disabilities, assisting to improve the general level of academic performance. Therefore, University of South Carolina holds a number of academic and support services, which are developed to help athlete students improve their lives.


Bundy, T. (2009, April 20). What’s more important for sudent athletes? Academics or sport?.
Cotugna, N., Connie, E., & Sheldon, M. (2005). Sport nutrition for young athletes. The Journal of School Nursing, 21(6), 323-328.
Etzel, E. (2009). Counseling and psychological services for college student-athletes. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Kissinger, D., & Miller, M. (2009). College student-athletes: Challenges, opportunities, and policy implications. Charlotte, NC: IAP.
Levitt, D. (2008). Participation in athletic activities and eating disordered behavior. Eat Disord, 16(5), 393-404.
Watson, J. (2006). Student-athletes and counseling: Factors influencing the decision to seek counseling services. College Student Journal, 40(1), 35-42.
University of South Carolina (2014). Eating disorders. Student Health Services.
University of South Carolina (2014). Counseling & human development center.
University of South Carolina (2014). Office of student disability services.
University of South Carolina (2014). Suicide prevention training.

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