Student-athletes beware, your fate is in Lauren Wilson’s hands. They’re capable hands, though. A basketball player herself before coming to Chico State in 1999, Wilson has worked with the Athletic Department since 2001, when she started as a student assistant. Now the 26-year-old from Colfax, Calif., is the compliance coordinator, meaning she keeps track of the 350 student-athletes, monitoring their course loads and GPAs to ensure their NCAA eligibility.
Tell me a little bit about your job.
I’m responsible for certifying the eligibility of all of the athletes, making sure they’re complying with the rules of the NCAA. They have to take a certain number of units and have a certain GPA. So I track their classes as well as their GPA. I keep in contact with the coaches—I’m the one who tells them whether they [the athletes] can practice or compete. The goal isn’t only to make sure they’re eligible but also to make sure that they graduate.
How do you possibly keep track of 350 students at once?
I monitor all the student-athletes, both continuing and new students. We have a computer system that houses every single one of them. I just have to be very organized. I track them all through our computer system. I have a file for every student-athlete, housed under their sports.
Have you ever had to tell a student he or she couldn’t participate in athletics?
Yes. The worst part of my job is having to call a student into my office and tell them they’re not eligible. Sometimes it’s based on grades; sometimes it’s because they haven’t met the transfer requirements. I’ve had students cry in my office and I’ve had them get really angry with me.
Is it rewarding to see students succeed?
I just got to the point where I’m watching the first group graduating. It’s really awesome to see. They’re always really grateful. It’s a really cool job, but really detail-oriented, time-consuming and stressful. But it’s really fun at the same time. The best part of my job is just walking around campus and seeing 350 students that I know and I can go to games and cheer them on because I know all their names. To work with the coaches is great.
Do you have a favorite sport?
I was an athlete in high school, but that was something I had to give up when I came to Chico because I went to school full-time and worked. I played basketball and soccer. I think my favorite sport to watch is basketball, and I still love soccer. But I don’t favor any sport.