Class Attendance & Travel

The University and the Department of Athletics have several policies related to class attendance, travel, travel letters, excused absences, and make-up work.

9.0 Class Attendance & Travel

The University’s Class Attendance Policy applies to all UNC students; student-athletes, like all UNC students, are expected and obligated to attend class.

9.1 Class Attendance Policy for All Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Bulletin

Class Attendance Policy

Regular class attendance is a student obligation, and a student is responsible for all the work, including tests and written work, of all class meetings. No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any class meetings except for excused absences for authorized University activities (see below) or religious observances required by the student’s faith. If a student misses three consecutive class meetings, or misses more classes than the course instructor deems advisable, the course instructor may report the facts to the student’s academic dean.

Excused Absences for Religious Reasons

Students are authorized up to two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by their faith. Students who wish to request more than two excused absences in an academic year for religious observances required by their faith will need to contact their course instructors and request the additional absence, which will only be granted with the course instructor’s permission. Primary holy days for religious observance are noted on a Web-based interfaith calendar site at www.interfaithcalendar.org.

Students are responsible for providing a written notice for an excused absence for a religious observance two weeks in advance of the date requested or as soon as possible if the date occurs within the first two weeks of the semester. This policy also applies to students who have an excused absence for a religious observance during the summer.

Students must be given the opportunity to make up tests and other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance. Makeup tests may entail an alternative examination, or other accommodation which allows the student not to be penalized for an excused absence for a religious observance.

Other Absences

Only course instructors excuse absences from class for valid reasons (illness or family emergency, religious observance, etc.). A student should present his or her explanation for any absences in writing to the course instructor in advance if the reason for the absence could be foreseen, or as soon as possible thereafter if the reason for the absence could not be foreseen.

A student may appeal a course instructor’s denial of a request that an absence be excused if the request to be excused from class and the reasons for the request are presented to the course instructor in writing within the time limits above. The appeal is to be made to the course instructor’s immediate academic supervisor.

Students who are members of regularly organized and authorized University activities and who may be out of town taking part in some scheduled event are to be excused during the approved period of absence. Notification of such an absence must be sent by the responsible University official to the course instructor before the date(s) of the scheduled absence.

9.2 Department of Athletics Attendance Policy

Department of Athletics policy states that a student-athlete may not miss more than seven class days per semester during regular competition, unless an exception is granted. Some teams require exceptions to this policy in order to accommodate regular competition schedules.

The Athletic Director considers exceptions in consultation with the Director of the ASPSA and the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) (See Process 8.2).This policy applies to in-season competition only.

The Department of Athletics, in consultation with the FAR and the ASPSA Director, will annually review regular season competition and missed class times for each team.

9.2.1 Guiding Principles Regarding Class Attendance Communicated by the ASPSA to coaches and student-athletes

For many classes there is no good way to separate absences from performance, and faculty and students need to collaborate in good will on how to manage this. For example, many classes require group work and/or class participation which cannot be accomplished when students are not in class. As such, student-athletes are not permitted to miss class due to practice or any other athletically-related activity other than official competitions and activities incidental to official competitions. Practice and athletically related activities are defined in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Manual.

Travel letters (See Process 9.4 below) are provided to all student-athletes by the ASPSA for excused absences. Travel letters are not provided for athletic competitions that are not considered countable intercollegiate competition for both the student-athlete and UNC. It is the student-athletes’ responsibility to give the ASPSA’s travel letter to their professors prior to the missed class(es) and to make arrangements to complete missed work.

Instructors need to make sure that all students with excused absences have access to the full benefit of course materials. It is a UNC Honor Code violation for a student-athlete to mislead a professor on his/her participation in travel and/or competition.

9.3 Class Checking Policy

Academic success begins with class attendance. All students are expected to attend classes except for necessary absences due to competition and travel related to competition.

To make certain that student-athletes are meeting the expectation of attending classes and to encourage academic success, the Department of Athletics may coordinate class checking. If a coach would like to hire a class checker for his or her specific team, the coach (identified as “Team”) should notify their ASPSA Counselor and the ASPSA Director.

Teams must follow these class-checking guidelines:

  • The Team finds and hires the class checker and coordinates the hiring process through the Department of Athletics-HR Services Office.
  • The ASPSA Counselor may be involved with the interview process by providing feedback to the Team or by providing a recommendation.
  • The ASPSA Counselor trains the class checker. Upon completion of the training, the counselor and class checker sign the “Procedures Agreement Form” and the ASPSA keeps a copy and sends a copy to Athletics-HR for the class-checker’s personnel file.
  • The Team monitors and coordinates the class checker and the class-checking schedule.
  • The ASPSA Counselor provides the academic schedules to the Team, along with recommendations as to which student-athletes should be checked and for which classes.
  • The class checkers report the results of the class checking to the Team, and either the Team or the class checker (Team determines), provides the information to the ASPSA Counselor in a timely manner.
  • The Team addresses the missed classes with the student-athletes as he or she finds appropriate.
  • The Team pays for the class checker directly from the Team’s budget.

Class checkers must follow these guidelines:

  • Class checkers must comply with all UNC and NCAA rules and regulations.
  • When conducting a class check, class checkers may not speak to professors and must keep an invisible-like presence outside the classrooms.
  • Class checkers must arrive a minimum of 10 minutes prior to the beginning of class to avoid any distractions.
  • Class checkers may not disturb the class if the instructor has already begun teaching.
  • Class checkers may leave after they have documented a student-athlete’s attendance. If a student-athlete is not present at the start of the class, the class checker should wait 5 minutes.
  • Checking a class near the end of the time period is acceptable and preferred when checking the same class frequently to see if a student remained in class.
  • Class checkers are not to approach professors while conducting a class check.
  • If the class checker is approached by the professor, he or she may engage in conversation. However, class checkers may not discuss grades. The class checker can give the professor the contact information for the ASPSA Counselor. The class checker will inform the ASPSA Counselor, who may make contact with the professor.
  • Class checkers may not accept any gifts or game tickets from coaches or student-athletes. Further, class checkers may not give any money, rides, or food to student-athletes. They need to maintain a professional relationship with student-athletes at all times.
  • Class checkers must maintain accurate information; accuracy is crucial.
  • Class attendance information that class checkers gather on the student-athletes may not be shared with anyone except for the individual coordinating the class checking program (e.g., coach) and the ASPSA academic staff.

9.4 Travel Letters

The ASPSA issues travel letters for students who will miss class due to athletic competition.

9.4.1 Travel Letters During Competition Season

Below is the process for travel letters during competition season.  Click here to view a sample travel letter.

  • Prior to the beginning of each semester, the designated ASPSA Academic Counselor for each team in competition season will meet with the coach or designee in charge of team travel to request all travel information (e.g., flight times, bus itinerary, dates of departure/return, etc.) related to any competitions held off campus.
  • ASPSA Counselors generate travel letters for their assigned teams at the beginning of each team’s competition season.
  • The travel letter follows a standard format for all teams and includes information for professors that describes options for making arrangements for approved proctoring of examinations. The letter includes language that explains the dates and times of the excused absences: “These are the dates and times for which the x team has been granted excused absences from class. Student-athletes are expected to attend class and are only excused for the times listed between the departure and return times.”
  • The ASPSA Director signs the letters and returns them to the Academic Counselors. In the event the Director is unavailable to sign a travel letter, the Academic Counselor may sign it.
  • At the Team Meeting, held at the beginning of each semester, or during initial individual meetings prior to the beginning of each semester, travel letters are distributed to student-athletes, along with instructions for student-athletes to hand deliver them to each professor in all of their classes. The Academic Counselors distribute the letters to the student-athletes; sometimes coaches assist in distributing travel letters to the student-athletes.
  • At any point when a student-athlete cannot present a travel letter to a professor in a timely manner (e.g., due to unexpected/immediate travel), he/she must email the scanned letter to the professor.
  • Initial travel letters must be delivered by each student-athlete to his/her professor during the drop/add period to inform the professor of any potential conflicts between the course schedule and the student’s travel schedule. Student-athletes should indicate on the course schedule which classes he/she will need to miss for that particular course. Student-athletes with online classes should email the instructor a copy of the travel letter.
  • Any additional travel letters necessitated by scheduling changes related to competition should be delivered to the professor in a timely manner.
  • When providing the travel letter to the professor, student-athletes ask the professor to sign the “Signature Verification Form.” By signing the Signature Verification Form, the professor acknowledges that the student-athlete has provided him/her with the travel letter.
  • The completed form must be submitted to the Academic Counselor by a specific deadline date set by the Academic Counselor. The Academic Counselor will inform the coach about any missing Signature Verification Forms in an effort to encourage student-athletes to have the form signed and returned in a timely manner.
  • Once the Academic Counselor receives the Signature Verification Form back from the student-athlete, the Counselor will keep an original letter and the Signature Verification Form for documentation.
  • If a faculty member refuses to sign a Signature Verification Form, the ASPSA Director will communicate that to the Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education or to the appropriate Dean of a professional program, to provide an opportunity to educate him/her about the purpose of the form, which is to acknowledge receipt of the letter.
  • Student-athletes should remind their professors one week prior to the missed class. They should make arrangements for making up missed assignments and/or tests.
  • The ASPSA writes travel letters for athletes and for student team managers. Student team managers are the only non-athlete group for whom the ASPSA writes travel letters.
  • The respective program directors for trainers, band, cheer and dance generate travel letters for these students.
  • Travel letters across campus are not standardized, however, the Dean of Students Office notifies an instructor if a student is absent due to illness or personal reasons (e.g., loss in the family, etc.)

9.4.2 Travel Letters During Post-Season Competition

For travel letters during post-season competition, the designated Academic Counselor meets with the specific team coach or designee in charge of travel to request all travel information (e.g., flight times, bus itinerary, dates of departure/return, etc.) related to post-season competition. ASPSA Counselors then generate travel letters outlining the post-season dates and times and distribute them to their designated student-athletes. Student-athletes immediately distribute the letters to their professors, or their Academic Counselor can email the professor with a copy of the travel letter.

9.4.3 Department of Athletics Guidelines for Travel for Competition Considered Countable for Student-Athletes or UNC

The Department of Athletics Compliance Office requires a standardized travel request form from each team prior to every competition. The Department of Athletics receives detailed and descriptive schedule information for each team that reflects as accurately as possible all missed class time for their competitive seasons. Each schedule includes team report times for home competitions and team report times and travel plans for away competitions. Schedules are approved by the Compliance Office and the Sport Program Administrators.

Generally, a team’s report time is no more than 48 hours before an away competition and no more than four hours before a home competition.

ASPSA Counselors receive travel information from coaches and generate travel letters for each student-athlete on the team.

Students are expected to return to class as soon as possible upon returning from away competitions.

9.4.4 Travel for Competition that is Not Considered Countable for the Student-Athlete and UNC (e.g., international competition, Olympic competition, unattached competition, etc.)

UNC-Chapel Hill does not recognize competition that is not considered countable for the student-athlete and UNC. Therefore, professors are not obligated to make arrangements for the student-athlete who requests to miss class to attend such activities.

Academic Counselors do not provide travel letters for competition that is not considered countable for the student-athlete and UNC. However, if a student-athlete plans to participate on a traveling international team (e.g., US U19) or national team, the Academic Counselor may provide a letter for verification purposes only. It is at the professor’s discretion if he/she will accommodate the student-athlete.

If a student-athlete will miss a significant number of classes or an entire semester, they must consult with his/her Academic Advisor and Academic Counselor to discuss options such as withdrawal from the University for a semester. Additionally, the student-athlete must consult with his/her coach, compliance office and Academic Counselor to request an NCAA waiver, if applicable.

9.5 Proctoring Options for Student-Athletes Missing Exams for Excused Absences

It is the responsibility of the student-athlete to inform the professor that an exam will be missed and to work out the arrangements with the professor. (The ASPSA can provide assistance to the professor if requested.) Ideally the professor and student-athlete will arrange a time to make up the exam before or after the travel conflict. The preference is that the professor, or his/her designee, proctors the exam and that the makeup is provided in his/her facility.

ASPSA full-time staff members may proctor exams as long as the professor agrees to the arrangement and was presented with alternatives. ASPSA full-time staff may also proctor exams for student-athletes from other institutions. Coaches and Athletics staff members are never allowed to proctor exams.

9.5.1 On-Campus Protocol for Makeup Exams

As stated above, the best option is to have the professor work out a solution directly with the student-athlete to make up the exam on campus, before or after the travel conflict. The preference is that the professor, or his/her designee, proctors the exam and that the makeup is provided in his/her facility.

If the professor requests a proctor for the exam, the following are some approved proctoring options:

  1. ASPSA full-time staff member (with prior approval from the ASPSA Director)
  • The student-athlete must sign the Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement (see below)
  • A copy of the signed Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement will be given to the professor along with the exam; a copy will be placed in the student-athlete’s file in the ASPSA; and a copy will be provided to the ASPSA Director.
  1. Accessibility Resources and Service
  • Main telephone: (919) 962-8300
  • Not an option during the final exam period.
  1. College of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Program (AAP)
  1. Friday Center for Continuing Education
  • http://fridaycenter.unc.edu/creditprograms/carolinacoursesonline/finalexam/
  • Final exam period is fine. No weekend hours.
  • Proctor hours available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (The latest start time to allow for a three-hour exam is 1:30 p.m. Make arrangements with the AAP office if the exam time is shorter.)
  • UNC students must pay a $15 fee for proctoring at the Friday Center. Students pay the University Cashier in Student Accounts and University Receivables and must provide a paid receipt to get reimbursed via athletics aid.
  1. ASPSA Counselors may assist with making proctor arrangements if the professor requests. The ASPSA Director provides prior approval and the following will apply:
  • The student-athlete must sign the Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement.
  • A copy of the signed Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement will be given to the professor along with the exam; a copy will be placed in the student-athlete’s file in the ASPSA; and a copy will be provided to the ASPSA Director.

9.5.2 Off-Campus Protocol for Makeup Exams

Again, the best option is to have the professor work out a solution directly with the student-athlete to make up the exam before or after the travel conflict. However, if the professor requests to have an exam administered while the student-athlete is on the road, the following guidelines apply:

  1. An ASPSA full-time staff member may proctor an exam off campus with the prior approval of the ASPSA Director.
  • The student-athlete must sign the Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement.
  • A copy of the signed Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement will be given to the professor along with the exam; a copy will be placed in the student-athlete’s file in the ASPSA; and a copy will be provided to the ASPSA Director.
  1. ASPSA Counselors can assist the student-athlete and professor in establishing a time and place to take the exam based upon travel schedule requirements. If the professor insists that the exam is given at the same exact time as the class exam, then arrangements must be made to coincide.
  2. If the professor would prefer to have someone other than the full-time ASPSA staff member proctor the exam, ASPSA Counselors can assist the professor in contacting an academic professional at the host institution who agrees to proctor the exam.
  3. The ASPSA Counselor may assist with making the arrangements if the professor so requests. The ASPSA Director will provide prior approval and the following will apply:
  • The student-athlete will sign the Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement.
  • A copy of the signed Honor Code/Honor Pledge statement will be given to the professor along with the exam; a copy will be placed in the student-athlete’s file in the ASPSA; and a copy will be provided to the ASPSA Director.
  1. A list of academic professionals includes but is not limited to the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR), an Academic Counselor through the ASPSA, testing center or disabilities services office. If there is no host institution, the ASPSA Counselor can contact an academic professional from one of the other institutions at the competition or look at the nearest academic institution. Other option to consider: within the state of North Carolina search for a proctor online
  2. The on-site proctor should receive the test materials and instructions directly from the professor (email, scan, fax, mail). However, if the professor requests assistance, the ASPSA Counselor can assist the professor with this part of the process.
  3. The on-site proctor administers the exam and returns it per the professor’s instructions (email, scan, fax, mail). In some cases, the professor may not want his or her exam to be given to another institution. The professor can email the exam (password protected) to the proctor and the student-athlete can be given the password. The professor may consider using Sakai is an option if the professor can post the exam with limited access for the student-athlete.
  4. If the professor has a hard copy exam that needs to be delivered or returned, the exam will be sealed by the professor or on-site proctor in an envelope and the individual will sign across the seal. The sealed exam will be handled by the ASPSA full-time staff member, coach or support member for the rest of the journey. The student-athlete is not permitted to deliver the exam.
  5. NCAA Student Assistance Funds may be used to cover the cost of FedEx to deliver the exam, cost to use the testing facility at the institution or cost of a taxi that the student-athlete must take to get to the facility if no other means of transportation can be provided by the coaching staff. Receipts will be submitted to Compliance via the ASPSA Office Manager. [approved by Compliance, per NCAA Bylaw 16.3.1.1. and 16.11.1.9. (SAF funds)]

9.5.3 ASPSA Proctor Approval & Honor Pledge Form

When proctoring is coordinated by the ASPSA, a “Proctor Approval & Honor Pledge Form” must be completed and signed by the Proctor, the student-athlete and the ASPSA Director:

Proctoring of Exam:  Request and Notification & UNC Student Honor Code and Honor Pledge

(revised 07/13/15)

Step 1:  Request and Notification

Student-athlete’s name:

_____________________________________Sport:_______________________

Instructor’s name:

_____________________________________________________________________

Course name, number and section:

________________________________________________________

Original day and time of exam:

__________________________________________________________

Request:  Proposed day, time and location proctored exam will be administered

__________________________________________________________________________________

Proctor’s name and position:

____________________________________________________________

Proctor’s email and phone number:

________________________________________________________

Approval: _____________________________________________   _______________________

    (signature of Assistant Provost/ASPSA Director)                  (date) 

Step 2:  UNC Student Honor Code and Honor Pledge

The Honor Code
Every student has the responsibility to support and maintain the University’s Honor Code.  The Honor Code exists to establish behavioral expectations that provide standards for academic accomplishment and personal integrity.

Since 1875 students have accepted the responsibility of governing themselves and maintaining the high standards of the University.

The Honor Pledge
The Honor Pledge represents each student’s commitment to the ideals of academic integrity and personal responsibility.  In accordance with the Statement of Commitment by Students and Faculty (Appendix A of the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance), students are required to sign the following Honor Pledge on all graded work:

On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this examination.

_____________________________________________________   __________________

(signature of student)                                                                             (date)

I acknowledge that the student read and signed the Honor Pledge and that the exam was administered in accordance with the Pledge.

Actual Day & Location: ____________________________________        Start Time: _____________

End Time: _____________

_____________________________________________________   __________________

(signature of proctor)                                                                             (date)

Step 3:  Completed form is to be placed in the student-athlete’s file;
copies are to be provided to the instructor and ASPSA Director

9.6 Scheduling Competitions

The Department of Athletics has no control over scheduling National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) post-season competitions. Students may have examination conflicts and should follow the University’s policy on rescheduling final examinations.

9.6.1 Department of Athletics Competition Scheduling Policy

The Department of Athletics does not schedule competitions during the final examination period unless an exception is reviewed and granted by the Athletic Director. Exceptions are reviewed and must be approved by the Athletic Director in consultation with the Director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) and the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR).

These guidelines will be considered when exceptions are granted:

  1. Every effort will be made to schedule home competitions on evenings before or days during which there are no University scheduled final examinations. NOTE: UNC’s examination period typically is about a week longer than most other universities’ exam periods.
  2. No regular-season team-away competitions will be scheduled during the final examination period.
  3. Exceptions will be considered for all student-athletes, whether they participate in a team or individual sport, and will be considered equitably across teams.

9.6.2 Scheduling Makeup Exams during Final Exam Period

Postseason competition should be the only excused reason for an athletic conflict during the final exam period. The student-athlete must complete the required UNC forms to request an “examination excuse.” Once the “examination excuse” has been approved, the identified options for a makeup are to be followed as any other exam.

9.6.3 Scheduling Practice or Countable Athletic Activities during Final Examinations

Per current NCAA legislation, if a team is not in their traditional playing or practice season, a coach may not schedule any countable athletic activities (e.g., weights, conditioning and skills instruction) during the week prior to final examinations through to the end of final examinations. A student-athlete may engage in voluntary activities during this time, and a coach may be present only if necessary to ensure the student-athlete’s safety. Coaches consider student-athletes’ time to prepare for and/or take final examinations when they schedule countable athletic activities during the traditional playing season.

9.7 Student-Athlete Absence Due to Illness, Injury or Surgery

(see also Process 10.7 regarding when a student-athlete has a head injury/concussion)

When a student-athlete has a significant illness, injury or surgery that requires him/her to miss class, the Department of Athletics Sport Medicine/Team Physicians notifies the Dean of Students Office, who informs the student’s professors. Sports Medicine also encourages the student to contact the professors directly and to include the Team Physician’s contact information if the professor has further questions.