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Elite Athlete and Performer Program Policy

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Section 1 - Policy Statement

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to support the competing demands of student athletes and performers while enabling them to successfully achieve academic, sporting and performing excellence. This will provide a second career path post the student’s athletic or performing career. In addition to supporting athletes under the Elite Athlete Education Network, Australian Catholic University (ACU) recognises and supports elite performers who are a member of Australian state, national or international organisations.

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Section 2 - Background Information

(2) In support of elite athletes, the university collaborates under the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), Elite Athlete Education Network with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and other national or state bodies representing elite athletes in various sports. Support involves open communication with athlete wellbeing and engagement staff from the AIS, state institute and academy network and other ASC recognised National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and National Sporting Organisations for people with a Disability (NSOD).

(3) The Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP) also liaises with the major performing arts companies as endorsed by the Australian Council for the Arts at a state, national and international level in order to support student performers.

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Section 3 - Policy Scope

(4) This Policy applies to all ACU Staff and Students.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Terms used in this Policy are consistent with the Glossary of Student and Course Terms. In addition, the following words and expressions have the meanings listed below.

Term Definition
Artistic Performer someone who is currently a member of a state, national or international performing arts company, or has had measurable significant success in a major artistic performing arts competition. This includes someone who has undertaken a major role in a commercial arts production as a performer or producer, or a person who has had significant independent success as an artist or producer with a documented track record such as a signed music contract with an Australian recognised record label.
Elite Athlete someone who has been identified as such by the AIS, a State Institute (or Academy) of Sport, a relevant National Players Association or State or NSO/NSOD recognised by the ASC as a state, national or international level competitor, coach or referee. In the case of ASC unrecognised sports, the Elite Athlete and Performer Program Advisory Committee will review based on the University’s discretion or on the advice of the AIS and ASC through the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement staff.
Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP) a mechanism through which support and flexible study options for elite athletes and performers, registered as members of the EAPP can be facilitated at ACU.
Elite Athlete and Performer Program Staff (EAPPS) members of the Health, Sport and Wellbeing team, within the Student Experience directorate, designated to facilitate the ACU Elite Athlete and Performer Program.
Elite Athlete Education Network an ASC initiative delivered by the AIS that is designed to support Australia’s elite athletes to achieve academic excellence while also pursuing a sporting career.
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Section 5 - Application and Admission to Courses

(6) Under the Admission to Coursework Programs Policy elite athletes and performers may apply for any course through ACU’s standard admission processes.

(7) In addition, the University will consider for direct entry into a course a limited number of elite athletes or performers on a case by case basis who are outstanding in their sporting or performing art, but do not meet standard entry criteria. Applicants in this category should contact the EAPP for further advice.

(8) Elite athletes and performers may apply to the EAPP to receive adjustment factors under the EAPP Adjustment Factors Scheme upon application to their course. These adjustment factors are in recognition of the negative impact on the applicant’s Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) due to sporting or performing commitments.

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Section 6 - Registration in the Elite Athlete and Performer Program

(9) A student who wishes to be registered under the EAPP should apply prior to their first semester at ACU, or the first semester in which they meet the criteria for recognition as an elite athlete or performer.

(10) Such a student must submit the ACU EAPP application form to the EAPP and include information on their training, competitive program and performance results in a resume format, based on the last 12 months’ performance together with a supporting letter endorsed by the wellbeing and engagement staff of the relevant national sporting or performing body.

(11) Participation in the EAPP is valid for one calendar year. All EAPP student members must reapply annually with updated training, competitive program and performance results from the previous 12 months, supported by a coach, welfare and education manager or artistic performer manager.

(12) Applications will be received and reviewed throughout the academic year and will remain valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which they are approved.

(13) Applicants will be advised of the outcome of the EAPP application by a letter sent to their nominated or ACU student email.

(14) The EAPP will consult with the relevant Course Coordinator to confirm the student’s acceptance into the EAPP as required.

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Section 7 - Flexible Study Option

(15) It is recognised that elite athletes and performers must balance their training and competition schedules with the University academic calendar and course requirements. Some adjustments or modifications may be approved, consistent with the Academic Regulations and with the student achieving all requirements for their degree (or other qualification), and subject to the principle of equity for all students within the EAPP.

(16) In sporting or performing related circumstances outside of the athlete’s control, every effort will be made to implement a flexible study option. Such circumstances include:

  1. sport or performing related injury;
  2. being called to compete at a national level or higher on short notice (up to 30 days prior);
  3. other exceptional sporting or performing related circumstances;
  4. unexpected mandatory training sessions.
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Section 8 - Enrolment-Related Needs

(17) A student who has been registered under the EAPP will seek endorsement of their enrolment (and any variation of enrolment) by the EAPPS prior to their submission to the Course Coordinator for approval.

(18) The EAPPS may contact the relevant coach or welfare and education manager concerning the athlete’s or performer’s anticipated training and competitive program.

(19) This process will enable:

  1. the student’s academic program to be tailored to allow for their sporting/performing commitments (this commonly may involve a reduced study workload);
  2. the student to optimise lecture, tutorial, practical and laboratory timetables to accommodate sporting commitments (this may involve unit selection having regard to unit timetabling as well as course requirements);
  3. extension of the duration of the degree (or other qualification) within the current maximum time limit as prescribed in the Academic Regulations;
  4. allowance for approved periods of leave of absence at times of intensive sporting or performing commitments;
  5. approval for a student to complete units at other campuses of the University, or facilitation of cross-institutional enrolment at other universities where these arrangements facilitate a more flexible and appropriate program for the athlete or performer concerned;
  6. the use of non-standard study periods, online delivery, where relevant, to achieve more flexible and timely delivery of the program;
  7. recognition of appropriate credit achieved at interstate and overseas universities consistent with University policy.
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Section 9 - Roles and Responsibilities

Role of the Elite Athlete and Performer Program Staff (EAPPS)

(20) Roles and responsibilities include:

  1. provision of advice on applications for admission via the Elite Athlete Education Network;
  2. provision of advice and guidance to elite athletes and performers on course planning and other academic matters, such as results and examinations;
  3. assistance with the negotiation of flexibility for elite athletes and performers in meeting academic requirements;
  4. advocacy for elite athletes and performers within their faculty and the wider University;
  5. liaison with Course Coordinators in negotiating and implementing cross-institutional study and/or credit transfer arrangements;
  6. liaison with local athlete or performer wellbeing and engagement to ensure the best possible balance between academic and sporting or performing demands and the total welfare of the elite athletes and performers;
  7. advice to academic staff of the names of Elite Student Athletes and Performers in a specific School;
  8. liaison with academic staff to support student athletes and performers in balancing study load;
  9. collaboration between academic and EAPPS if a student athlete has received a Show Cause letter or is to be terminated.

Faculty and School Roles and Responsibilities

(21) Academic staff at ACU are required to support elite athletes and performers to access flexible study options which include:

  1. negotiation of assessment deadlines with students to accommodate travel related to sporting or performing commitments;
  2. class attendance flexibility to accommodate travel related sporting or performing commitments;
  3. provision of opportunities for elite athletes and performers to demonstrate understanding of missed class content;
  4. allowing examinations externally where appropriate examination conditions have been established, in accordance with the Examination Policy and Examination Procedure for Staff and the Elite Athlete Education Network Guiding Principles;
  5. allowing examinations to be held at alternate times to scheduled examinations where a student athlete has a genuine clash with sporting commitments at the time of the central and deferred examinations, in accordance with the Examination Policy and Examination Procedure for Staff.
  6. provision of advice on course progression and unit selection.

Student Athlete and Performer Roles and Responsibilities

(22) Communicate with academic staff and EAPPS as early as possible to request support for assessment tasks or class absences.

(23) Provide supporting documentation as evidence of sporting or performing commitments when submitting an application for special consideration, extension of deadline for submission of an assessment task, or request for deferred examination.

(24) Comply with the Student Conduct Policy and understand that breaches of this policy may result in the student being withdrawn from the EAPP.

(25) Adhere to all ACU academic regulations, policies and procedures.

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Section 10 - Financial Assistance

(26) Elite athletes and performers are eligible to apply for financial assistance on an annual basis.

(27) This assistance includes:

  1. Elite Athlete and Performer Financial Scholarship:
    1. Athletes or performers who are members of the EAPP will have the opportunity to apply for an EAPP Financial Scholarship. Applications are reviewed and awarded based on the most current published EAPP selection criteria. Successful applicants may receive an amount nominated at the discretion of the University within the specified scholarship limits.
  2. Elite Athlete and Performer Program Travel Grant:
    1. EAPP members may apply for funding for travel and accommodation when competing or performing at representative events. Applicants must provide supporting documentation and successful applicants may receive an amount nominated at the discretion of the University within the travel subsidy limits.
  3. UniSport Australia Subsidies:
    1. EAPP members who represent ACU at UniSport Australia endorsed events may be eligible for financial subsidies throughout the year.
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Section 11 - Appeals

(28) Students wishing to appeal the outcome of their EAPP application or a decision made under this Policy may do so via the Student Appeals Policy.

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Section 12 - Review

(29) Unless otherwise indicated, this Policy will still apply beyond the review date.

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Section 13 -  Revisions to this Policy

Date Major Minor or Editorial Description of Revision
4 feb 2022 Minor Directorate name change, policy review date 92e, alternated exam consideration
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Section 14 - Associated Information

(30) For related legislation, policies, procedures, guidelines and any supporting resources please refer to the Associated Information tab.