Our story last week on a special faculty report that drew more attention to the connection between UNC-Chapel Hill athletics and what appears to be the worst case of academic fraud in recent memory cited an issue regarding the process of admitting athletes with subpar academic records.
The issue, as the report said, appeared to be the fact that Admissions Director Stephen Farmer had yet to reject a recommendation by a special advisory committee that reviews such athletes for potential admission.
"It appears that Admissions can override decisions of the subcommittee, though a recommendation by the subcommittee has never been overruled since Farmer has been director. What criteria or influences would be used in such cases?" the report said.
Jan Boxill, chairwoman of the Faculty Senate Council at UNC-CH, later contacted us and said that issue is a minor one, because the special advisory committee is made up of faculty members who are concerned about academics. The issue, she and authors of the report said, pales in comparison to the good work Farmer has done to ensure that athletes who have little chance of surviving the academic load at the university do not get admitted.
The report points out such efforts: "According to Stephen Farmer, his office and the Athletics Department have increased efforts to discourage teams from presenting candidates that represent exceptionally high risks in terms of their ability to succeed academically at UNC. There is evidence that these efforts are working. In addition his office is accumulating data on the academic performance of admitted students so that looking forward, they will have an approved basis for assessing and managing risk."