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Thorp: Big Time Sports Support Academic Mission

By Ran Northam Posted April 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Chancellor Thorp, who was besieged by problems with the football program that was placed on NCAA probation, has become a defender of big time athletics in his final days here.

***Listen to Part II of the Interview***

“These excellent private research universities that are not in Big Time Sports have a hard time getting their alumni to come back to campus, creating loyalty that transcends the majors that the undergraduates have that renowns to the greater university, and getting the general public to know about where their university is,” Chancellor Thorp says.

Washington University—where Chancellor Thorp is making the move to be provost—is a prime example. He says people often think it’s located in the northern west coast of the U.S. or in the Nation’s Capitol, while it’s actually in St. Louis.

But Carolina has Big Time Sports and has nearly 30,000 students, from which Chancellor Thorp says portions of all areas of the student body were attracted by athletics.

“It’s part of the culture of being here,” Chancellor Thorp says. “It’s part of the experience of being here. We have students apply to Carolina because they learned about it through big time sports, and that doesn’t just include undergraduate students who come here and do sports and aren’t serious students. That includes really great people that we really want here. And, when I was in the chemistry department, we had a lot of kids who had gone to liberal arts colleges that we wanted to come to Carolina for graduate school, and part of the allure for them was to be at a place where they could experience big time sports. So, yes it turns some people off; it turns some people on; but it is part of the Carolina culture, it is part of what we have here, and if you come to work here, you’ve agreed to come to work at a place that has big time sports.

These comments were made during a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner for a special end-of-term interview with the Chancellor.

The interview will be played in its entirety Saturday and Sunday.

To read about and hear part one, click here.

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