The Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group might recommend changing UNC's handling of student-athletes who enroll early, depending on whether its research shows existing methods successfully fold new students into the academic and social fabric of the University.
Group members discussed both the merits and drawbacks of encouraging students to either graduate half a year early from high school or allowing students to matriculate half a year later than most freshmen.
Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, said a typical January in UNC will see the addition of six to eight new student athletes, along with a handful of transfer student-athletes. He said he thinks 12 or 13 new student-athletes enrolled in UNC this January.
Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham talked about grayshirting, another opportunity for student-athletes to matriculate half a year later than their classmates and teammates.
“Grayshirting occurs when you recruit students out of high school and ask them to defer six months after graduation, which has to do with the amount of scholarships you are able to offer that year,” Cunningham said.
Farmer said generally non-athlete freshmen do not enroll halfway through an academic year, though some transfer students do.
Joy Renner, chairwoman of the Faculty Athletics Committee, expressed concern over possible obstacles standing in the path of students enrolled in January that students who enrolled in the beginning of the academic year do not face.
“A lot of faculty assume students have been here for a semester by spring and expect students to be prepared for everything,” Renner said. “I’m not sure there is as much give and take.”
Farmer said research conducted by UNC’s Committee on Special Talent shows students who have enrolled in January have effectively adapted to the academic and social culture of a university setting.