The focus of the meeting was a presentation from lawyer Robert Orr, who detailed concerns with disciplinary hearings at the NCAA level.
“I have seen nothing at the national level that has addressed the disciplinary system that has been imposed and is continuing to be imposed at young men and women who play at UNC and around the country,” he said.
Orr mentioned UNC’s recent decision to not apply for P.J. Hairston’s reinstatement to the UNC basketball team with the NCAA.
“P.J. had no right to appeal, yet it was his career, his scholarship, his reputation that was at stake,” Orr said.
“My impression was Coach Williams would have punished P.J. in his way but he was unable to play, but because of the eligibility decision by the NCAA, he didn’t have that chance.”
Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham and faculty athletics committee members said they shared Orr’s concerns with having a disciplinary process for student-athletes that differed from that of a typical student.
Orr said applying for reinstatement felt like contacting a man in Indianapolis with his feet on a table, sipping coffee and working on his fantasy football league.
“That simply cannot be the way it is.”
The Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group discussed academic support for student-athletes, particularly communication between counselors, advisers, tutors and coaches.
Sociology Professor Andrew Perrin suggested a mode of communication similar to the Writing Center, where the writing tutor sends a summary of what was discussed with the student to the appropriate teacher.
Director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes Michelle Brown said that idea had been brought to them before, but getting the appropriate software was a challenge.
The group talked about the student-athlete registration proxy. If a student-athlete cannot register during his or her registration time, an adviser registers for that student.
One issue thus far has been that advisers must have access to student passwords to do this.
Also, there needs to be a person outside the athletic organization signing off on this proxy procedure.
“Someone in the advising office should at least sign off on it for the adviser to register the person,” said Debbi Clarke, an adviser to the working group.
Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, discussed the document that he hopes to send out as a brochure or card to high school coaches.
The main objective of the brochure would be to give coaches an educational tool to pass on to prospective student-athletes.
Perrin said the brochure should serve a couple purposes.
“First, we want them to grasp the fact that UNC is a welcoming place for successful students,” he said.
“And two we want them to set that tone and style of life early.”