Get your ass to class.

Well, Georgia may not be on equal footing with the rest of its SEC brethren when it comes to alcohol policies, but, by God, the rest of the conference has caught up when it comes to class attendance.

“You go to class to prepare for your tests, which is like going to practice to prepare for a game,” [Georgia Athletic Director Damon] Evans said. “If you miss practice, coaches probably aren’t going to play you. We should put the same emphasis on class time. If you don’t go to class and you still play, we’re sending a mixed message.”

Beginning Aug. 1, each SEC athletics department must have a class attendance policy that provides a “reasonable means” for supervision and enforcement. Each school can decide its own policies, but penalties must include suspension from competition.

The rule, created from meetings of SEC faculty representatives, had been put off the past two years. Several schools, including Alabama and Auburn, have not had a department policy and allow each coach to establish rules.

Fox, meet henhouse:

Last fall, Alabama football coach Mike Shula would not discuss his policy and penalties. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said he had no set number of classes a player can miss before triggering penalties, which he said include early-morning workouts and suspensions.

Some whining is to be expected.  After all, we live in the Bush era of mythical accountability:

SEC schools without department policies argue the decision should be an institutional matter whether to have a uniform policy or let individual coaches decide. They also say monitoring classes will pose challenges.

“Are you going to hire three more people to make sure your 600 students are in every class?” said Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone. “Is it just going to be football and basketball, or any sport? Most schools probably have professors that don’t take records or won’t supply them. It’s just such a loose area.”

There are also questions about how to measure different standards and penalties.

“If you miss one class at Ole Miss and are suspended for half a game or a game, but you’re at Georgia and it takes three classes before they suspend somebody, how does that measure?” Boone said.

Hmm… if it’s that much trouble for an athletic department to keep track of whether kids are attending class, how have the coaches been doing it?

My favorite part is the conclusion.  Why does Boone recognize the importance of establishing a policy?

The importance of attending class and tutor sessions is not lost on Boone, who receives correspondence when football players skip academic assignments.

“What I’ve noticed is the handful of folks missing the classes are the same ones busting assignments on Saturday,” Boone said. “They’re not as dedicated as they need to be in the classroom or on the practice field.”

That’s right – it’ll make ’em better football players!  So much for the academic mission…

By the way,  the new rule provides no enforcement authority for the SEC.

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