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Something in common

Barry McNamara
For the second year, all Monmouth College varsity athletes gathered in Glennie Gymnasium to hear a pre-season message from athletic director Roger Haynes and be brought up to date on NCAA rules and regulations.

Last week, more than 400 student-athletes filled the bleachers on the east side of the gym, where they first heard a message from Ruby Pentsil-Bukari, MC’s director of intercultural life and, along with Haynes, one of Monmouth’s two diversity and well-being representatives to the Midwest Conference. The MWC hosted its first-ever diversity summit in June, focusing on the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority students-athletes and staff at MWC member institutions.

Head athletic trainer Bob Foster updated current and soon-to-be Fighting Scots on several issues, including a new procedure for evaluating athletes who suffer concussions. Throughout the NCAA, greater focus is being placed on identifying athletes with such injuries and on athletic training staffs being more thorough with testing before the athletes are allowed to return to practices and competition.

Students heard about academic issues from several speakers, including Kari Shimmin, chair of the physical education department, who spoke about academic honesty and the importance of students submitting their own work and citing sources.

In his message, Haynes noted Monmouth’s improvement in its number of Academic All-Midwest Conference athletes last year and challenged the students to help the college become a leader in that area for the 2010-11 academic year. He acknowledged several Fighting Scots who are already doing their part academically, including the volleyball team, which had a cumulative GPA higher than 3.3. Individually, golfers Lynsey Barnard and Rodney Clayton were recently recognized as All-American Scholars, and Nick Byom and Gloria Lehr were nationally recognized for qualifying for the NCAA track meet while maintaining GPAs of 3.3 or higher.

Haynes also listed Monmouth’s conference championship teams from 2009-10, which included the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track teams and the football and men’s golf teams. He voiced his hope that Monmouth could improve on its finishes in the 2009-10 MWC’s All-Sports Standings, where the men took second and the women placed third.

“We hold this meeting to provide a consistency of information that our athletes receive,” Haynes said. “It’s very important that we abide by Midwest Conference and NCAA rules. It’s also important for our athletes to have a sense of a common mission and common goals.”