USA Today has unveiled a special report revealing that at many universities, disproportionate numbers of athletes are in the same majors.
It's called clustering, a practice critics say helps universities improve their graduation rates at the expense of the athletes themselves.
To summarize: the report found that on football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball teams at 142 colleges, at least quarter of juniors and seniores were majoring in the same thing, and on more than half those teams, at least 40 percent were in the same major.
The story includes a searchable database. Keep in mind it isn't comprehensive. The investigation culled data from university sources like media guides, but not every major for every athlete at every university was available, and the newspaper focused on upperclassmen.
A few highlights from our local universities:
• At N.C. State, 10 of 22 baseball players majored in sports management. That's 45.3 percent. Ten of 34 football players, or 29.4 percent, did so as well.
• At Duke, 11 of 27 football players, 40 percent, majored in sociology.
• At UNC Chapel Hill, 4 of 7 men's basketball players majored in communication studies and 3 of 8 women's basketball players were in the exercise and sport science program.
• At East Carolina, 9 of 15 baseball players, 60 percent, were communication majors, as were 13 of 31 football players. That's 41 percent.
Here's what former Boise State University football player Marty Tadman, who was among 48 percent of the juniors and seniors on his team to major in communication, had to say about the way athletes wound up choosing their majors.
From the USA Today report:
"You hear which majors, and which classes, are the easiest and you take them. You're going to school so you can stay in sports. You're not going for a degree...it's a joke."