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A group of faculty members sent a statement Friday urging the University to re-evaluate its athletic system.

The statement, which was signed by 112 UNC faculty members, asked that the Board of Trustees, the chancellor, the athletic director and the entire UNC community join them in their efforts to make sure that the school’s athletics program operate in line with the University’s core mission.

The group asked that athletic excellence at UNC be based on a foundation of academic integrity. They asked that athletics maintain “institutional openness, educational responsibility and mission consistency.”

Jay Smith, UNC history professor and the organizer of the group of faculty who drafted the statement, said an informal group of faculty members had been meeting about issues surrounding the University’s athletic program for months.

Smith said there has been very little discussion among faculty about recent athletic issues, particularly the 2010 NCAA investigation into possible academic improprieties involving football players.

“We wanted to make sure a faculty voice was being presented,” he said.

“We wanted to (release the statement) now in part because the spring semester is shaping up to be an exciting time with athletics in part because of the forums and events that have been scheduled,” Smith said.

On Feb. 28, a panel of three critics of college sports, including former UNC-system President Bill Friday, will discuss the topic “Big-Time College Sports: What Needs to Change?”

Smith said the group plans to continue meeting throughout the semester.

“We hope to keep the conversation going,” Smith said. “We don’t just want to make our one pronouncement and then disappear.”

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