Faculty athletics committee studies patterns of student-athletes
By Jamie Gwaltney
In the faculty athletics committee meeting Tuesday, members reviewed a study on patterns within classes taken by student-athletes. The data focused on clusters of classes and majors with higher rates of student-athletes.
Members Layna Mosley and Deborah Stroman presented their conclusions at the meeting.
Mosley said there were higher numbers of student-athletes majoring in exercise and sports science, communication studies and business, although the numbers fluctuate. She said they looked at data from 2011 to present.
Stroman said they’ve seen trends like these before, like higher achieving athletes majoring in business.
“Business administration just has a reputation on campuses,” Stroman said. “Get there if you can, so it makes sense for top athletes to want to be in that.”
Joy Renner, chair of the committee, said these trends can also be linked to post-grad plans for student-athletes because their preferred sport can mesh well with majors like exercise and sport science or business.
“They talk about what they want to do when they finish, their majors make sense,” Renner said.
Mosley said the committee was also concerned about the clustering of student-athletes in classes, meaning there were higher numbers of student-athletes in certain classes. She said this concern goes back many years.
“Something is happening there that shouldn’t be, or...we somehow think that the learning environment is different and we have a concentration of people from a given group which could be from a sorority, or could be from Tennessee, or could be from a team,” Mosley said.
Mosley said UNC-CH developed a system, which is now used across the UNC-system, to see which courses have above a certain threshold of student-athletes. Once the number of student-athletes surpasses this threshold, the course is flagged for review. The UNC-system threshold is 25%, while the University’s threshold for fall and spring courses is 20% and 25% in the summer.
“The baseline there is, for each of those courses, ensuring that there is a syllabus and that it meets the requirements of any other course,” Mosley.
Renner said reviewing this data and developing a system to check on clustering has allowed the committee to make changes.
“We’ve got pieces in place that allow us to secure that we don’t have bogus classes,” Renner said.
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