The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 2nd

Faculty Athletics Committee discusses athletes’ cases

The Faculty Athletics Committee met on Tuesday afternoon in South Building. Joy Renner (left), a committee member from the department of allied health sciences, leads discussion points of the meeting. (Chris Kielt (right), Vice Chancellor for Information and Technology).
Buy Photos The Faculty Athletics Committee met on Tuesday afternoon in South Building. Joy Renner (left), a committee member from the department of allied health sciences, leads discussion points of the meeting. (Chris Kielt (right), Vice Chancellor for Information and Technology).

The meeting comes on the heels of the news regarding former football player Michael Waddell’s irregular enrollment into the Exercise and Sports Science graduate program.

Cheryl Thomas, former admissions director for UNC’s graduate school, shared information with The (Raleigh) News & Observer regarding the athletic department’s encouraged enrollment of Waddell into the competitive graduate program during fall 2003.

Thomas said Waddell applied months after the program’s deadline without a GRE score, according to reports by The (Raleigh) News & Observer.

Members of the committee didn’t say which student-athlete’s case they reviewed on Tuesday.

The open portion of the meeting revolved around the issue of sports teams’ practice procedures during last week’s snowstorms.

A faculty member contacted committee chairwoman Joy Renner on Friday afternoon about concerns of the appropriateness and safety of student-athletes practicing when the University was in Condition 3, which requires classes to be canceled and offices to be closed.

Renner said the faculty member also raised concerns about liability and the importance of athletics over academics.

“There’s always a knee jerk reaction to things, and you need to think about the liability and safety of the students and coaches,” she said.

Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said that when the athletic department heard about adverse weather conditions, he sent emails to coaches notifying them to be safe.

The department can give teams permission to practice during Condition 3.

Cunningham said permission to practice depends on whether the team is in season, how many members are on the team, if the team has a competition within 48 hours and whether the team and coaching staff can arrive safely.

The cancellation of games on campus is decided by the University, but Cunningham said the women’s basketball team has played in Condition 3 for the past two years.

Cunningham said athletes could voluntarily practice if facilities are open.

“In this environment, if we have some facilities open for the kids that are bored or want something to do, then they can come and lift or swim or do something athletic,” he said.

The members of the committee had concerns about liability for student-athletes.

“I think it raises the same sort of question,” nursing professor Beverly Foster said. “Are they covered by malpractice insurance when the University is officially closed?”

Renner said the University is working on updating its adverse weather policies and has asked Cunningham to join the group, which will meet Friday to discuss the conditions.

university@dailytarheel.com


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