January 12, 2018
By ODU Athletics

Who We Are: Old Dominion University and Student Athletic Academic Services staff work hard to provide educational support and guidance to ensure academic success and graduation to all student-athletes. ODU sports teams are assigned an academic advisor from the academic support staff. From the arrival of each student-athlete onto ODU campus until graduation, the support staff assists student-athletes with registration, class schedules, and understanding of NCAA, conference, and university’s academic rules. In addition, the academic advisors monitor academic progress to keep athletes current with progress toward degree requirements and continuing eligibility.




The mission of the Student Athletic Academic Services is to assist with recruitment, retention, and graduation while providing resources to enhance academic, personal, and professional development of ODU student-athletes.

The Connie and Marc Jacobson Athletic Academic Center (Jim Jarrett/L.R. Hill)

The Jacobson Athletic Academic Center includes two locations that houses our academic advisors, an educational student-athlete support specialist, academic interns, and a quiet learning environment. The Jacobson features ten desktop computers, 20 Laptops accessible to check-out, wifi, 12 private tutoring rooms, and an additional room for group tutoring sessions. The Center also provides a printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine at your disposal as a Monarch student-athlete. Additionally, we provide laptops, voice recorders, calculators, and standardized exam prep materials available for student-athletes to check-out.



Tutorial Program: Academic tutors are available to all student-athletes free of charge. We have over thirty-five tutors specifically for our Monarch athletes. A tutor can be assigned and scheduled to meet your time demands. All student-athletes are strongly encouraged to use the tutor services. Tutors work with ODU student-athletes in their content areas of expertise, and assist students on a one-to-one basis or small group sessions to answer questions on course content, aid in comprehension of course material, and to help with studying for the course. Student-Athlete Academic Services offers tutoring and study hall in two locations. The primary location is the Jacobson Athletic Academic Center (JAAC) located in the Jim Jarrett Athletic Administration Building. The JAAC also has several private study rooms for ODU student-athletes to meet with athletic tutors on a one-to-one basis or to work on class projects. The secondary location is the JAAC-LR located in L.R Hill Sports Complex.

Educational Support Services

Educational Support Services (ESS) provides a variety of support to student-athletes with diagnosed learning disorders, ADHD, and other eligible permanent and temporary disabilities, and works to identify student-athletes with potential disabilities and provide them with further evaluation. ESS helps student-athletes register with the Office of Educational Accessibility on campus and manage their accommodations to use them as efficiently and effectively as possible. ESS houses one full-time educational support specialist and a team of academic learning assistants who provide one-on-one and group support to teach students valuable skills in areas of organization, time-management, reading, writing, note-taking, communicating, studying, and self-advocating while building academic independence and guiding them through course material.


Educational Support Services (ESS) exists within Student-Athlete Academic Services to provide individual and group skill development and strategy instruction for student-athletes.


ESS Staff:

ESS is led by the full time Educational Support Specialist and also includes a graduate intern and 10 part time academic learning assistants.


Services provided through ESS include:

  •      Screenings: all ODU student-athletes are screened upon arriving on campus. Screenings allow ESS to offer individualized support based on students’ specific needs. Sometimes students are referred for additional testing after screening results to further evaluate their specific needs.
  •      Office of Educational Accessibility Intakes and Registration: the Educational Support Specialist works directly with the Office of Educational Accessibility (OEA) on campus to register students with diagnoses and provide them access to necessary accommodations.
  •      Accommodation Management: student-athletes with accommodations through OEA are regularly communicated with regarding effective and appropriate use of accommodations and guided through accommodation usage as needed.
  •      Individual and Small Group Academic Support: many student-athletes are provided one on one and small group academic support through meetings with the Educational Support Specialist, ESS intern, or academic learning assistants. These appointments typically occur on a weekly basis and focus on the students specific academic needs.
  •      Large Group Academic Support: ESS also provides group and team-based workshops on topics such as study skills and final exam prep.
  •      Objective-Based Study Hall: student-athletes participating in objective-based study hall (OBSH) have the opportunity to reduce their time spent in study hall by earning study hall credit based on work completed rather than hours.


Incoming Student-Athletes with Existing Diagnoses:

For incoming freshmen or transfer students with existing diagnoses, please reach out to Erin Cousins, Educational Support Specialist, at to provide documentation and discuss needs. When documentation is provided in advance, it allows you to access academic accommodations very quickly after arriving on campus.


Students with a diagnosis of ADHD and taking a medication on the NCAA’s banned substance list should be aware that if they wish to take their prescribed medication they must properly complete the NCAA Medical Exception Reporting Form to Support the Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Treatment with Banned Stimulant Medication provided below as well as provide appropriate documentation including the following:

  • o   Medication(s) and dosage.
  • o   Blood pressure and pulse readings and comments.
  • o   Note that alternative non-banned medications have been considered, and comments.
  • o   Follow-up orders.
  • o   Date of clinical evaluation
  • o   Attach written report summary of comprehensive clinical evaluation. Please note that this includes the original clinical notes of the diagnostic evaluation.

The evaluation should include individual and family history, address any indication of mood disorders, substance abuse, and previous history of ADHD treatment, and incorporate the DSM criteria to diagnose ADHD. Attach supporting documentation, such as completed ADHD Rating Scale(s) (e.g., Connors, ASRS, CAARS) scores.

The evaluation can and should be completed by a clinician capable of meeting the requirements detailed above.


NCAA Medical Exception Reporting Form:             



Counseling Services: SAAS employs a part time Student-Athlete Support Counselor. Services are free to student-athletes and she is available to meet with them individually for one time or recurring appointments depending on need. She also facilitates group workshops. Counseling can support students in dealing with a variety of stressors and is completely confidential. 

Mobile Advising: Monarch student-athletes have priority registration, which allows them to obtain a schedule that is conducive with their unique practice and travel needs. A partnership between the Student Athletic Academic Services and various colleges on campus consists of a one-day mobile advising event to reduce any scheduling issues that student-athletes may encounter. This ensures enrollment in courses on the priority registration date.

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