CHAPEL HILL – Jan Boxill, UNC’s Faculty Chair, said Wednesday that significant progress has been made in achieving “balance” between athletics and academics at the University. In the wake of scandals that continue to haunt Carolina, the pressure is on to make changes and prevent future indiscretions.
“We can be a model for other Division I athletic programs,” Boxill said. “That doesn’t mean that we will reach complete agreement among the faculty as no policy will.”
In mid-July, Boxill was accused by the Raleigh News and Observer of a cover-up regarding information about UNC’s athletic program
Boxill told WCHL News that she was cast in a negative light by the N&O for trying to help the University’s image during tumultuous times with the NCAA, the media, and even the public. UNC faculty issued a statement supporting Boxill after the article was published.
While addressing a committee of the Board Trustees Wednesday, Boxill said that the work of the Faculty Council’s athletics focus group had been tedious, but that it was on a path toward progress.
Efforts have been on-going across campus to strengthen relationships between academics and athletics. The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes was reorganized and now reports to Dean’s office.
Earlier this month, the Rawlings Panel issued a report on the role of athletics in campus life. It was commissioned by former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.
Boxill said that report was discussed by the Faculty Council on September 13 and will be dissected more thoroughly next month.
Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Jim Dean both assumed their respective positions this summer. Boxill said this has given her a fresh perspective on Carolina’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Their visible presence and willingness to learn from all of us has presented opportunities for the faculty to find solutions to our old and new problems,” Boxill said.
Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham, Folt, and Dean together formed the Student Athlete Academic Working Group in August.
Dean said Wednesday that the three leaders were not making just a “casual effort” to improve the connection between athletics and academics
“And this group, because of the nature of the people who are on the group, is not a group that will be making recommendations,” Dean said “There is no one for us to make recommendations to. We will be making changes.”
He added that he, Folt, and Cunningham were going through “everything that has to do with student athletes with a fine-toothed comb.”