Friday, January 17, 2014

UNC BoG Releases Report on Academics and Athletics

The UNC-system Board of Governors has joined members of UNC-CH’s administration in stating that problems with student-athlete’s academics are not as severe as they seem.
The board issued its annual intercollegiate athletics report at its meeting last week, which provided statistics that included the graduation rates and Academic Progress Rates for student-athletes at 15 UNC-system institutions during 2012-13.
According to the report, the UNC-system averages for the high school GPAs of all incoming football and men’s and women’s basketball players were at or above 3.0.
Board member Roger Aiken said the report is a sign of progress and said the board might use it to make future decisions regarding athletics.
“I did not think this report shed as bad a light as we have seen in other reports,” Aiken said.
University of South Carolina sports administration professor Richard Southall said he does not think the numbers in the board report tell the whole story because they do not separate revenue athletes from non-revenue athletes. 
“A third string player who never sees the field is not a profit athlete,” Southall said. “What many reports do is lump all college athletes together.”
Southall said the report needs to go farther in analyzing which majors revenue athletes are clustered in. 
“The questions of selected majors needs to be broken down right away, by sport and by starters and non-starters,” he said. 
Gurney said he thinks the board and UNC administration have followed the example of several other institutions in providing details that maintain their image but ultimately cover up the underlying issues. 
“Predictably, your administration is releasing public information that is at best misleading, and at worst is a deliberate lie.”
My own view about this stuff is that Carolina is being unfairly singled out. The probability that Carolina is particularly bad in this respect is approximately 0. Being unfairly singled out, however, doesn't mean that you aren't doing something wrong. The whole system needs reform, IMO. I'm happy to have it start with Carolina, and I'm happy to have any problems there exposed. I'm not particularly happy with people pretending that there's some special problem there.

What really matters about the Carolina story is really only this question: were basketball athletes being directed by people in the athletic program to take the fictional classes (being run in the African-American Studies program)?  If yes, then the shit needs to hit the fan. If no, then it's time to move on. "Moving on," however, means: addressing the bigger questions about college athletics generally. If Carolina didn't violate the rules, then that's basically the end of that part of the story. I'd very much like to see us question the rules, and think hard about whether we want to maintain the inherently corrupting system of college athletics in place... But those questions have nothing to do with UNC in particular.


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