Correction (October 5, 12:50 a.m.): Due to a source error, a previous version of this article misstated the average high school GPA and SAT scores of incoming football players during the 2008-09 school year. The The numbers were 2.9 and 999, respectively. The article has been changed to reflect the correction. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
The University is making fewer exceptions for student athletes whose high school academic records don’t meet minimum admission requirements.
UNC and the NCAA mandate minimum admission standards athletes must meet. Coaches can ask for exceptions, but admissions director Stephen Farmer says that happens about half as often now as 10 years ago.
“The number is very small — mainly, I think, because the athletics department understands the expectations of the faculty committee and is reluctant to present candidates who don’t have a good chance of meeting those expectations,” Farmer said.
This year’s freshman class includes 14 athletes who were granted admission under the exception process. About 30 were being granted a decade ago, he said.
Most “committee cases” — those that come before faculty seeking an exception — are football players.
“It’s fair to say over 10 years’ time that the football team has probably brought the most committee cases,” he said, in part because of how large the team is.
News of a tutor giving football players unethical help has prompted questions from trustees and faculty about whether academics are being stressed enough.
Administrators have defended head coach Butch Davis’ priorities. Chancellor Holden Thorp has cited a 47 point rise in SAT scores among football players since Davis arrived as one example. The decrease in exceptions confirm he and other coaches are recruiting academically stronger students.