“We have not found that being a student-athlete pushes a student towards a specific major,” committee chairwoman Joy Renner said. “It’s more that it limits the times of day that they can take classes because of practices, and that is what we’re looking at.”
Renner said they are looking at time commitment data in order to open up more academic opportunities for athletes.
In the past few years, there has been an increase in athletes majoring in business administration and a decline in athletes majoring in communication studies. Paul Friga, a committee member who teaches business, said athletes have said they felt understood by faculty at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The University monitors clustering of student-athletes to detect whether there are patterns of athletes taking specific classes.
“What we do every semester is we take all of the classes students are enrolled in and the registrar’s office runs them to see what percentage of the students in the class are student-athletes,” Renner said.
If more than 20 percent of the students enrolled in a particular class are athletes, the dean of undergraduate studies receives an alert and then contacts the chairman of the department to begin asking questions about the course syllabus and class assessments.
The Faculty Athletics Committee has also taken a closer look at the effect competition scheduling has on student-athletes’ class attendance.
Layna Mosley, a political science professor and member of the committee, said the football and men’s basketball teams receive the most scrutiny even though they travel the least.
The committee is also examining how student-athletes are admitted. UNC’s admissions board has been using a projected GPA formula for the past three years to predict the success of incoming talent admits.
“It’s a formula that was devised by the folks in Odom Institute and it looked at what are predictors for success here at Carolina,” Renner said. “It gives us some benchmarking for who we need more information on to decide if they will be successful here.”
The committee also discussed the possibility of endorsing the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics, an organization of schools that tries to come up with policies or decisions about the future of collegiate athletics.
“It is very premature to have yet another body of people starting to tell people what they should do with college athletics,” Renner said.
“UNC Chapel Hill is doing a lot that we are very proud of and that we think is very good and we would like to see how that plays out, and we’re going to use that information to then influence our conference and then use our conference to influence the NCAA.”