Vassar Student Association

Council endorses granting of credit to varsity athletes

After two years of discussion and planning, the VSA Council endorsed the granting of credit to student athletes during its meeting on September 6.

Below, read the full endorsement, which will be presented to the Committee on Curricular Policy (CCP) by the Vice President for Academics. Once approved by CCP, the proposal will be voted on by the general faculty.


September 6, 2009

The Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council recommends that Vassar College commit to extending academic credit to varsity athletes, to be implemented for the 2010-11 academic year. This recommendation is founded on the understanding that varsity sports at Vassar enhance the academic experience of the athletes, engendering lessons of collaboration, respect, and dedication. By enacting this recommendation, Vassar will be a leader in affirming athletics as a form of the creative and performing arts. By participating in athletics, students develop cognitive abilities that complement training in other disciplines, and in some cases discover and develop talents and interests that will shape their interested and passions.

In Vassar’s mission statement, the College strives for the “development of the powers of reason and imagination through the processes of analysis and synthesis and the use of all our human resources—to speculate, to feel, to inquire boldly, to enjoy, to change, to create, and to communicate effectively.” Because it is the mission of the College to broadly educate students’ mind and body, the VSA Council believes that the granting of academic credit for varsity athletics programs is consistent with our core values.


Currently, students are given the choice to take a maximum of two units of physical education credit to count towards the thirty-four units required for graduation. Before 1968-69, all students were required to complete two years of Physical Education and no credit was given for these classes. In 1970-71, Vassar switched to a unit system and all students were required to complete two years of physical education within their first three years and no credit was given for these classes. In 1971-72, the College then began extending credit to athletic credits. The outcome was such that the College increased its graduation requirements by two to incorporate physical education credits.

Vassar College currently maintains twenty-seven varsity athletic teams, twenty-one of which are designated “All-Academic” by the NCAA, indicating that Vassar athletes share a commitment to prioritizing academics.

The Proposal

Granting academic credit to varsity athletes would be an extension of the existing option for all students to elect to use physical education credits toward the graduation requirement. Note that the allowance of these credits will still be capped at two, and this option will be purely voluntary. Athletes will be required to register for this credit at the beginning of each semester in consultation with their academic advisor like any other physical education credit. Athletes should see this as supplemental option to their curriculum, adding greater flexibility to their schedules while in season. Freshmen or first year athletes will not be allowed to register for credit during their first year at Vassar.

Additional Advantages

The granting of credits to varsity athletes will have extended benefits for the entire curriculum. The effect of this might take pressure off departmental courses including physical education and dance, as well as the individual schedules of the athletes. The effect of this might take pressure off of departmental courses, including Physical Education and Dance. We believe this to be particularly beneficial, as the economic crisis has forced the College to reduce the number of sections offered across the curriculum.

The implementation of this policy would recognize the dedication and excellence of our student athletes. We propose that the Committee on Curricular Policy endorse the granting of academic credit to Varsity Athletes.

Respectfully submitted,

The 24th VSA Council


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