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UNC Releases Report On Student-Athlete Admission Process

By Rachel Nash Posted April 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm

 A report released Friday by UNC delves into the process of how the 2013 first-year class of student-athletes were evaluated for admission, including how many was enrolled under the “special talent policy,” a procedure which has recently called the University’s reputation into question.

“This document focuses on the admission credentials of first-year student-athletes,” the report says, though it is buried under a statistical review of the entire enrolling class.

The report, which was produced by Steve Farmer, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and Bobbi Owen, Chair and Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, was partially introduced and only briefly mentioned during a Faculty Council meeting Friday.

“In the course of the last five years, the number of applications for admissions to our University has gone up by 34 percent. In that time as that has happened, the same care and attention to treating everyone of those candidates to the University has been given by the office to make sure that everyone of them is treated as an individual,” Owen said.

The special talent policy is a UNC Board of Trustees rule which provides admission to students who “give evidence of possessing special talents for University programs requiring special talents.” The University allocates 160 spaces in each year’s entering first-year class for student-athletes who are deemed to fall under this category.

The policy also can be applied to other students with talents in music or dramatic arts, for example.

Friday’s report states two numbers for how many student-athletes were admitted under the policy. It first states that 143 were admitted under the policy early in the report and then later, that 154 were admitted under the policy—in the part dedicated solely to student-athletes. The second figure was reported earlier this year when UNC refuted claims questioning it’s the literacy levels of its student athletes.

Clarification: 143 refers to the number of student-athletes who enrolled in the fall of 2013. Eleven student athletes enrolled in the spring of 2013 making the number 154.

The document states a bevy of facts about enrolling first-year student-athletes, including the fact that 201 student-athletes enrolled in 2013. Through the end of the fall semester, it states that the median GPA for those students was a 2.9. By comparison, it states that the median GPA for the 154 student athletes admitted under the special talent policy was 2.8.

Fourteen students considered for admission under the special talent policy required additional faculty review— nine of whom were recruited to play revenue sports. By the end of the 2013 fall semester, they had a median GPA of 2.5.

Fourteen is the lowest number on record for student-athletes who required additional review under the special talent policy, according to the report. That figure is down from 23 from last two entering classes and down from 29 from the 2006 entering class.

The report appears on CarolinaCommitment.edu, a website recently created to highlight the various reforms and reviews underway in response to past academic/athletic oversights.

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