According to the NCAA, there are more than 20,000 international students participating in intercollegiate athletics at NCAA schools. The NCAA's office of inclusion recently published two guides – one for athletic departments, the other for administrators – designed to help schools create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for their international student-athletes. By doing so, the NCAA hopes to help ease some of the many issues that international student-athletes face when they arrive on a US college or university campus.
International Student Athletes Face Unique Challenges
Student-athletes face unique challenges that can make their time in school particularly difficult. College can be a stressful time for any student. When you add to that the demands of practicing and playing a sport, staying in shape, and following a multitude of NCAA rules, all while studying and maintaining a specific grade level, it is easy to see how these young adults can find themselves in difficult school disciplinary situations.
Add to that the additional challenges that international student-athletes must face – a new and different school environment, an often-unfamiliar culture, having to communicate constantly in what is often a foreign language, and dealing with strict immigration laws – and the stakes get even higher.
Misconduct Allegations Can Derail an International Student Athlete's Career
Like any other student, it's not unusual for an international student-athlete to find themselves accused of violating their school's disciplinary or honor code. The problem is that the system for dealing with these kinds of accusations is run by the school, can often be confusing and unfair, and can lead to consequences that threaten the student's ability to remain in school and continue to compete in their sport of choice. And because most international student-athletes at NCAA schools receive at least a partial, if not a full scholarship, losing the scholarship can mean leaving both the school and the US.
International Student-Athletes Have Unique Immigration Issues
On top of the complexities of being a student-athlete in a foreign country, the international student-athlete must navigate what can be a confusing and complicated US visa system. If they are in the country on an F-1 Student Visa, they need to be enrolled full-time, meaning that if they are forced to drop (or are removed from) one or more classes, they may risk their ability to remain in the country. International students also need to be careful about what kinds of outside employment they take on during the school year and during vacation; only certain types of paid work are permitted under Student Visa regulations.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento Can Help
If you are an international student-athlete enrolled in a US school and find yourself the subject of a school disciplinary proceeding, don't face it alone. There is too much at stake for you to trust that the school will properly and fairly resolve the matter. An experienced attorney advisor can help you understand how the disciplinary process works at your school and what may be at stake for your continued enrollment. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Student Defense Team have years of experience representing international students in disciplinary proceedings and other school-related matters. Contact Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 or online to discuss your case and learn how they can help.