Better Academic Support for Student Athletes

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Polly Brooks
Polly Brooks signed this petition

An Open Letter to The University of Leeds
From: The Student Athlete.

The value of participation in sport at university is widely acknowledged. 94% of employers identify a clear link between university sport participation and valuable skills and strengths in potential employees. “Involvement in sport makes a real, measurable and positive impact not just on the student experience, but also on life beyond higher education” (Simon Shibli, Co-director of the Sport Industry Research Centre). Further, the average graduate who plays sport while studying earns £5,824 (18%) more than those who do not. The University of Leeds acknowledges this value and actively seeks to provide “one of the best sporting experiences in the UK”.

Despite this, balancing Wednesday sport and Wednesday lectures is notoriously hard. Games (Home and Away) are scheduled on Wednesday afternoons and often start around 1pm. A 12pm warm-up for a 1pm start anywhere apart from Leeds therefore eliminates the possibility of student athlete attendance at Wednesday morning lectures.

Often, I’ve heard my peers advocate the abolition of Wednesday lectures entirely, in favour of a Wednesday that focuses on sport. With an offering of 138 subjects and the scheduling of 31,906 students, I recognise and appreciate the logistical impracticality of this.

A simpler solution is already accessible: Lecture Capture. The University of Leeds has invested over £2million in “one of the largest [lecture capture systems] in Europe”. In order to provide a flexible and personalised approach to learning, over 50,000 hours of teaching activity are recorded every year.

A commitment to ensure that only recorded lectures are scheduled for Wednesday mornings would extend this flexibility to student athletes. Those who wish to represent the university on a Wednesday afternoon should not find themselves academically disadvantaged for doing so – especially when such a straightforward solution is readily available.

On behalf of our teams and societies, my peers and I therefore urge you to support your sports players by considering a policy whereby only recorded lectures are scheduled for Wednesday mornings.


Polly Brooks
Lacrosse: 1st Team Captain


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