The Athletics Department has announced that Professor J. Harrison Watts, PhD, will be the new Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). Dr. Watts takes over the position from Stefanie Becerril, who had been the FAR since August 2019.
Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “We have always taken academics seriously, and that is evident in being recognized with the conference’s Top GPA award. I am confident that Harris will continue to ensure our student-athletes are accomplishing their academic goals. He will ensure everyone is compliant with the NAIA in all aspects. We thank Stefanie for her service over the last four years, and we are excited to add Harrison to our team.”
As a member of the NAIA, OLLU is bound by eligibility standards. These rules exist for the common good of all participants, and Dr. Watts will ensure OLLU’s student-athletes abide by these standards. Athletes failing to comply with expected standards will face institutional sanctions, which may affect their eligibility to participate in the athletic program.
Student-athletes are responsible for upholding and maintaining personal eligibility status. However, coaches, the athletic director, assistant athletic director, and Dr. Watts will be available to assist students in better understanding and complying with NAIA requirements.
For a student to be eligible for any NAIA-recognized intercollegiate competition at OLLU, Dr. Watts will ensure that the student conforms to the following regulations:
An entering freshman student must graduate from an accredited high school or be accepted as a regular student in good standing as defined by the enrolling institution.
An entering freshman student must meet two of the three entry-level requirements:
- A minimum score of 18 on the Enhanced ACT or 860 on the SAT (for tests taken on or after April 1, 1995);
- An overall high school grade point average of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
- Graduate in the upper half of the student’s high school graduating class.
The class rank must appear on the student’s transcript, leaving certificate or another academic document. If the student’s class rank does not appear on the documents mentioned above, a letter from the student’s principal or headmaster, written on the school’s letterhead and with the school’s official seal, stating that the student meets the class rank requirement can be accepted.
Watts commented, “I’m excited to be a part of the athletics team as the Faculty Athletics Representative. I plan to mentor our student-athletes to see the big picture academically and find their career calling. This requires that I get to know each of our student-athletes and direct them along the right path.”
Dr. Watts began his formal education at a community college, earning an Associate of Applied Sciences in Agriculture from Vernon College. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Sciences and a Master of Arts in Political Science from MSU-Texas. He also earned a Master of Arts in History and Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. Dr. Wats received a Master of Business Administration from the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, N.M., and a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University. He attended law school at Regent University, earning a Master of Arts in Law, specializing in Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Texas A&M University School of Law, earning the Master of Jurisprudence with a specialization in Business Law and Compliance. Finally, he earned the Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice from Northcentral University.
Dr. Watts has been a full-time faculty member since 1998, working at Vernon College, Cameron University, Washburn University and Our Lady of the Lake University, where he has been since 2014. Dr. Watts is a tenured full professor who teaches out of the Department of Applied Social and Cultural Sciences (Criminology and Criminal Justice) and the Department of Business (Business Law and Management).
Dr. Watts is a veteran of the United States Army and currently serves in the Texas State Guard. He played varsity football and ran track at Arlington Martin High School in Texas. His oldest daughter, Whitney, is an assistant cheer and dance coach at OLLU. His youngest daughter, Mariah, is a two-sport student-athlete at OLLU running track and cheerleading. Additionally, he has an up-and-coming son, Jase, who is competing in Pony League baseball and hopes to become a future Saint.