Ohio State Begins Second-Annual Summer Bridge Program
June 23, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State Department of Athletics began its second-annual Summer Bridge Program Wednesday evening at the Younkin Success Center, designed to help incoming student-athletes with their transition to college prior to autumn semester. This summer, the program will host 60 student-athletes, representing 12 different varsity teams. Also in attendance were spring midyear enrollees who missed out on fall programming and education.

Session I - Kickoff Event at Younkin - June 22, 2016
The first session served to excite the incoming student-athletes and provide them with a fun atmosphere where they could make friends and acquaint themselves with campus and what it means to be a Buckeye.

Gene Smith, Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director; Martin Jarmond, Executive Associate AD, Administration; and Dr. David Graham, Assistant Provost/Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success, spoke at the opening session and provided words of wisdom and the keys to success as a Buckeye on campus.

Smith, who just arrived on campus back from the Cleveland Cavaliers' Championship Parade, opened with an introduction and shared several important topics to the group on how to be a responsible student-athlete.

"We want to make sure you understand this blessing you have," Smith said. "We have 36 varsity sports and about 1,000 student-athletes. This is a tremendous opportunity for you to be a part of a program that strives for excellence. I want to congratulate you for being a part of this program. There are a lot of student-athletes across the country that would love to be in your shoes. There are around 400 people that work in this department for you. We have everything imaginable you could want. Make sure you take advantage of their talents and skills."

He concluded his address by mentioning the importance of communication and reaching out for help.

"Communicate to your coaches, advisors and SASSO when you are in need. Talk to your strength coaches. Do not just accept what they are telling you to do. Ask them why. Same thing with trainers - they are here for you. Become an advocate for yourself and ask if you are not sure."

Jarmond had two messages to the group. "How many of you were the best on your high school team? You all are great at what you do. Now you are going to have people just as talented as you here and there's going to be a lot coming your way. Like Mr. Smith said, there will be 60,000 people on campus this fall. You do not have to do this alone. One of the best things about being at this university is the resources we will provide you. Everyone is going to struggle with something. Second, make sure you get everything you can out of this experience," Jarmond stressed. "Take advantage of everything. Bring the energy to your team every day."

Dr. Graham concluded the introduction with the topic of your personal brand. "We are here to help you build and protect the brand. We want to make sure when you leave here you are a thriving contributor to our Ohio State community."

In the coming weeks, the incoming student-athletes all will receive a copy of Pyramid of Success by John Wooden - an award-winning publication teaching leadership skills on and off the playing field. Along with the book, the new Buckeyes will be given an iPad along with a tutorial training session that will allow student-athletes to maximize its use in the classroom.

A few of the student-athletes in attendance shared their gratitude over the opportunity to meet their peers and familiarize themselves with Ohio State. They believed the program will help with their adjustment to college during their first year and are happy to become friends with peers facing comparable situations.

"It was a great experience to listen to Mr. Smith and others speak tonight and know I have all these people here to help me," Micah Potter, a freshman on the men's basketball team, said. "This program is going to prepare me for fall semester when my schedule becomes a lot busier and there are a lot more kids on campus. They are here to help and they want us to be successful and that is what a family is."

An incoming freshman on the women's volleyball team, Brooke Bailey echoed Potter's feelings.

"One of the biggest reasons why I chose Ohio State was the tradition and the people that are here," Bailey said. "Hearing Mr. Smith talk to us was really inspiring and it made us realize the opportunity we have here. It's been great meeting other student-athletes this summer who are going through the same transition as me. I've been here for a semester already and I know there are fewer opportunities once the academic year begins so being a part of this program now is going to help out a lot."

Participants will meet weekly with an academic coach or learning specialist to learn about essential transitional skills and resources (i.e. Carmen, Canvas, GradesFirst, time management, classroom etiquette, and learning strategies). In addition, there will be workshops that will educate and assist student-athletes in understanding the importance of academic success. These sessions will emphasize SASSO's commitment to a comprehensive program of academic and personal development for student-athletes.

Session II - The Classroom Experience
Student-athletes were treated to a workshop coordinated by Dr. John Davidson, who is entering his third year as Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR). Davidson recruited OSU faculty members to come speak with incoming freshmen on a wide range of topics such as how to properly communicate with professors, relating work ethic on the practice field to work ethic in the classroom, how to dissect a syllabus to identify important information and how to use technology to help enhance the learning experience. The workshop lasted about an hour and it was great experience for the new Buckeyes to ask and answer questions with several faculty members from different departments across campus on what to expect on the first day of class come fall semester.

"The idea of the faculty workshop is to stress the importance of communication in a variety of different ways in the approach to being a college student," Davidson said. "The important lesson is to get them to conceive themselves as college students in the classroom. Professors might not care about basketball players or volleyball players, but they do care about their students in the classroom. If you present yourself as a student, you've already improved the relationship and the ability to communicate with your professor. The research has shown this leads to success for the student-athlete as they begin their college experience." 

Session III - Integrity & Academic Resources
The third session of the Ohio State's second-annual Summer Bridge Program was held July 5 at the Younkin Success Center. Dr. Hobgood, the coordinator for Ohio State University's Committee on Academic Misconduct, introduced the incoming student-athletes on the COAM office and the different types of academic misconduct, best practices for following university policies and shared on-campus resources with the student-athletes. Following Dr. Hobgood's segment, Dr. Ruth Staveley, assistant director of Academic Resources Coordinator for SASSO, spoke with the group about SASSO Tutorial Services, the do's and don'ts for tutoring sessions and how to best utilize the resources.


 "The University's Code of Student Conduct defines academic misconduct as "any activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the university, or subvert the educational process" (Faculty Rule 3335-23-04[A]). The Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) is charged with maintaining the University's academic integrity by investigating and adjudicating "all reported cases of student academic misconduct, with the exception of cases in a professional college having a published honor code.""

Session IV – Compliance & Housing
The fourth session of the Summer Bridge Program was held July 12 at the Younkin Success Center. Incoming student-athletes gathered to discuss the importance of compliance and information on housing. Matt Bartlebaugh, associate director for compliance and admissions, presented information on compliance for student-athletes during the first portion of the session. He went over topics including ethical conduct, extra benefits, complimentary admissions, gambling, employment, recruiting, eligibility and student assistance. He informed student-athletes on the consequences of hazing, the zero tolerance policy in regards to drug testing and the proper grade point average a student-athlete must achieve to maintain academic eligibility.

Jen Nelson informed the group on housing and how to succeed in residence life. She went over the basic responsibilities and information of the residence halls as well as the topics on roommates, safety, alcohol or drugs, quiet hours and other policies. The incoming student-athletes will also be giving back to the community throughout the summer session at various locations, including the Ronald McDonald House.