Hunter Rawlings will lead panel on athletic, academic relationship

As Chancellor Holden Thorp prepares to leave office, one of his final actions will be fostering a discussion on the relationship between athletics and academics — one that many hope will continue after his term ends.

Thorp announced plans for this discussion eight months ago, and he said panels would start right after the Martin Report concluded.

Today, four months since the report’s release, the panel will take place on campus.

attend the panel

Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. today
Location: Murray Hall, Room G202

The discussion will include a five-member panel of outside leaders in higher education that will meet to discuss how the University can move past its series of academic and athletic scandals.

Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities, will lead the discussion.

The panel will be held in Murray Hall, rather than in the Carolina Inn where it was originally scheduled.

Jay Smith, a history professor who will speak at the event, said he believes the change in venue is a sign that interest among the faculty is high.

“I think that the turnout will be healthy — I’ve heard from a number of people who plan to go,” he said.

Panel members include James Delany, commissioner of the Big 10 Conference; Bob Malekoff, associate professor and sport studies department chairman at Guilford College; Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics; and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, former associate justice on the N.C. Supreme Court.

The event will also host several guest speakers, including ESPN broadcaster Jay Bilas.

Richard Southall, an associate professor of exercise and sport science and the director of the College Sport Research Institute, will speak at the event.

“I think it’ll be the start of an ongoing conversation on the UNC campus on what is the proper balance between athletics and academics,” he said.

Joy Renner, chairwoman of the faculty athletics committee, said the goal is to set the stage for further discussions.

“Let’s hope the impact helps drive us into a productive and healthy new academic year of discussion and progress,” she said in an email.

Smith stressed he wants to address how faculty interacts with student athletes.

“I’ll talk about the term ‘student athlete,’ which I think is a problematic one,” he said.

Renner said she’s hopeful the panel will provide insight on how to better serve student athletes.

“The most important aspect to discuss is how to continue to bring together all those involved in the student athlete experience, so that the student is the focus,” she said.

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