Fans sometimes forget that BYU student athletes are students first. As the semester winds down, student athletes have more to worry about than blocks and jump shots. They have final exams too. With many of their seasons in full swing, athletes need help keeping up with their studies. That’s where the Student Athlete Academic Center (SAAC) comes into play.
The center offers free tutoring to all BYU athletes, but doesn’t mean players get special treatment.
“It is a little bit unique,” Trevor Wilson, Director of the SAAC says, “but one thing I like to say is that what we offer here is all in one area what is available to any student, in several areas on campus.”
Centralizing tutors in all subjects in one place makes it easier for athletes to work study time into their busy schedules. The SAAC is located in the Student Athlete Building, central to most athletes’ practice areas.
“The location makes it easier for the athletes to go to class, go to practice, and then come here and spend some time studying with the tutors,” Wilson says.
The SAAC employs over 70 student tutors in a variety of subjects. This method, students tutoring students, has been very successful for the center, and tutors, like Emily Christensen, like it too.
“I think it’s really great that we have students tutoring students,” Christensen says, “because as a student you’ve been through those classes before and you can see it from their perspective.”
BYU discus thrower, Brittany Critchfield, signs up for a tutor for every class she takes.
“My grades are majorly dependent on this, because without tutors I probably wouldn’t get as high a grade as I do. If anything, having a tutoring session is a dedicated time for me to study,” Critchfield says.
The SAAC doesn’t focus solely on grades. The center offers alumni mentors, academic advisers, and learning specialists to help athletes get through each semester and plan for life after college sports.
“Our areas of support extend into areas that maybe other centers don’t. Kind of the holistic approach to an education, it’s not just about academics and grades. It’s about the whole person,” Wilson says.