The committee also evaluates students who do not meet academic requirements to gain admission to UNC but might bring skills other students cannot, said committee member Layna Mosley.
“They are a set of students that bring things to the University that might not be captured purely by academic credentials,” Mosley said.
In a given year, the committee approves about 160 students for athletics, 20 for music and 20 for dramatic arts.
Ashley Memory, the senior assistant director of admissions in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, said the majority of the members on the Committee on Special Talent are required to be tenured or tenure-track professors.
All 188 student-athletes in the class of 2019 met the minimum course and GPA requirements. One student did not meet the testing component but met the GPA component.
Although the final decision rests with Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions Stephen Farmer and the department of undergraduate admissions, the department seriously considers the committee’s advice.
“Steve has never gone against what our committee has recommended; he’s never admitted someone that we recommended against admitting, ever,” Mosley said.
Memory said the projected first-year GPA has not always been factored into admissions.
“Beyond the criterion, there’s really no formula for admission, and this is true of all admissions at Carolina, student-athletes as well,” Memory said. “We do a holistic review. We evaluate each student extensively and comprehensively.”
Vince Ille, a senior associate athletic director who oversees UNC’s compliance and student-athlete development offices, said coaches and the athletic department narrow the search for student-athletes throughout the recruiting process.
“This is a collaborative effort, and we only want to bring forward prospective student-athletes that the coach and the athletic department believe ... can succeed here academically at the University of North Carolina. Those are the candidates we want to bring forward,” Ille said.
Ille said the University is continuously improving its admissions process.
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“The idea that whatever we’re doing today, the goal at the end of the day is to lay your head on the pillow, and you’re a little bit better at the end of the day than you were at the beginning of the day,” Ille said.