By MIKE McCALL
August 01, 2012
During lunch on Thursday, Southern Athletic Director William Broussard’s phone kept buzzing in his pocket.
When he checked it, he saw three missed calls from assistant academic counselor Trayvean Scott.
“I started thinking, is the place on fire?” Broussard said.
In darker days — those marred by severe penalties related to the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate — a flurry of calls from someone in Scott’s position may have spelled trouble, but those days are becoming a thing of the past at Southern.
Scott was calling with good news. SU had heard from the NCAA on its grant proposal, and the results were a first for all parties involved.
Southern received $21,300 from the NCAA’s Supplemental Support Fund — believed to be a school record — to be put toward sprucing up the Jaguars’ academic support of student-athletes.
It also marked a happy ending for Scott’s first time as the lead author on a grant, as well as the first project Broussard worked on since arriving at Southern.
Before Broussard and Scott had met in person, they were collaborating on the grant proposal. After the school had received $12,000 in 2011, Broussard pushed for a much larger amount this year.
Scott requested $49,500 from the NCAA’s fund, which provides a total of about $1 million annually to low-resource institutions for academic support. While the result was far below the request, it is nearly double last year’s.
The uptick will fund things like computers, tutors, software and furniture for the Jaguars’ study hall areas — particularly the newer satellite study hall in the A.W. Mumford Field House for the football and track teams.
It’s certainly no magic bullet, and the school has a long way to go to prepare for more demanding APR requirements that will take effect in the coming years, but the grant is the latest in a string of good news for Southern.
The postseason bans on football and men’s basketball have been lifted, APR scores are on the rise, and the athletic department is working to provide better support for student-athletes.
“We want to get the most we can for our kids, because ultimately that’s why we’re doing this,” said Scott, who played basketball at Southern and received three degrees during his playing career. It will go down as a personal triumph too, for Scott and Broussard.
“This is my first project as Southern’s athletic director, so it’s nice to put a bow on that, have it be something historic here and have a big win on the academic side before we ever start competing on the field this fall,” Broussard said. “I’m really excited about it, but I’m real, real thrilled about it for Trayvean.”