Sue Carter: Creating the Future by Enriching but not Entitling Student-Athletes

May 22, 2017

“Every NCAA institution is required to have a faculty athletic representative, someone who serves as the linkage between athletics and academics,” Sue Carter tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today. “My role involves guarding the institutions academic integrity. I’m the eyes and ears, and students really matter to me.”

Carter is MSU’s faculty athletic representative to the Big Ten and NCAA, and she’s a professor of journalism at the university.

Hollis adds that “student-athletes are indeed students, and many of the challenges that we face as an athletic department are also being faced by today’s faculty – issues that are out there in our society that aren’t specific to athletics.”

Carter focuses on the athletic culture and how it fits into the larger student culture. “Part of what we try to do is empower students so that when they graduate, they’re able to go out and be fully contributing adults.”

The conversation turns to the transition and speed of today’s media. It can complicate matters for student-athletes who are inundated by it, adds President Simon. And Carter says that faculty members are adjusting to how today’s students learn and take in information differently. “While we encourage them to read more, we also want to meet them where they are.

“They are bombarded by all kinds of platforms and screens. So we try to help them be good consumers of media, to be media literate so they can make distinctions among media and information sources.”

The trio discusses the myth of multitasking and the benefits of unplugging from one’s phone occasionally.

Carter is concerned about the abundance of often “miniscule, arcane and binding” rules that guide intercollegiate athletics. She worries about possible legislation, perhaps at the congressional level, that could impact college athletics.

“There are a lot of things in the mix. I would suggest that ten years from now we’ll see a substantially different landscape. And it makes me worry to some extent about women’s athletics. As the money shifts, we may be in the glory years of women’s athletics thanks to Title IX. But some of that may change.”

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 94.5 FM and AM 870.