Anna Heindl / equinox staff

Sebastien Mehegan

Administrative Executive Editor

Stereotypical phrases generally associated with sports include “Eye of the tiger,” “Keep your head in the game,” “Keep your eye on the ball,” and others implying success, but only if athletics is your number one priority; An idea that the Keene State Athletics department does not encourage.

The Keene State Athletics department has instated a new “Mandatory Study Time” program for first-year athletes to encourage that a higher priority is given to academics for the students.

The information sent to first-year athletes to update them on the new policy, introduced the initiative by saying, “Mandatory study hours are a great tool to help first year student-athletes get acclimated with university life by balancing academics and athletics. For many students with this being their first time away from home and distractions of college, demand requirements for classes can be a challenge.”

Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country/Indoor and Outdoor Track Tom Pickering, said, “This is a new program that all first year students athletes are required, in their first semester, to complete and track a minimum of four hours of study time per week in certain places on campus that their app, installed on their device, will register that they were there in that time.”

The application they use is called My Greek Study. It gives the user the ability to go to a designated area, check in and log their hours while they’re there.

Some of the places the application registers as an acceptable study place includes the library, the conference room in the athletics department and the writing center.

Pickering said he and many others in the athletic program feel that academic excellence should be the number one priority. “We never allow there to be an athlete missing an academic commitment for a practice, and there’s a real strict protocol we have to follow when an athlete has to miss a class in order to travel to a meet even though that’s an unexcused absence.” Pickering said the protocol is to have the student-athlete approach their respective teacher and tell them they’ll make sure they will make up the work.

Cross Country Athlete Robby St. Laurent said he’s heard of mandatory study time at other schools.

He said, “I totally see the reasoning behind it and it’s hard to really be sure that people are staying on top of their hours without micromanaging them.” St. Laurent said he knows certain people who log in during practice just to log the hours.

St. Laurent said, “I do my homework way ahead of time so I’ve never had an issue with [academics]…I don’t want to get to championship season and then hear our fifth or sixth guys can’t run because he’s not keeping up with his school work and this [program], at least for the new guys, keeps them accountable.”

Pickering said if students are not getting their required four hours of study time per week, until they make it up, they will have to check in with the coach and will not be aloud to participate in practices.

The Mandatory Study Hours program goes for the first-year’s first semester and they must have a 2.7 or better cumulative GPA to be exempt from the program. To be a part of the athletics program at all, a student-athlete must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

A study done by Northwest Missouri State University student Ryan Stegall on the different GPA’s of student-athletes vs not, found that student-athletes in the midwest suburban district have a higher average GPA of 3.25 where as non-athletes have an average GPA of 3.01.

Sebastien Mehegan can be contacted at

smehegan@kscequinox.com