Local News

UNC system report details athletes' academic qualifications

Posted January 9, 2014 6:07 p.m. EST

— After a CNN report put negative attention on the academic progress of student-athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the UNC System Board of Governors released its own annual report on athletes and their academic qualifications.

There was little discussion during the board’s meeting Thursday about the UNC Intercollegiate Athletics Report, which details how many freshmen student-athletes got exceptions to the admission standards applied to the general student body.

Of the 193 recruits admitted as freshmen to UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012-13, three got a waiver on the minimum course requirements. In the rest of the UNC Class of 2016, one other student got such an exception.

The numbers seem to be in stark contrast to a story aired earlier this week by CNN, which conducted its own analysis of 183 athletes at UNC-CH over an eight-year span. That report said 60 percent were reading between fourth- and eighth-grade levels.

UNC administrators questioned the accuracy of the CNN report, including a quote from a source who said a former basketball player who could not read or write. “We do not believe that claim and find it patently unfair to the many student-athletes who have worked hard in the classroom and on the court and represented our university with distinction," the school said in a statement Wednesday.

According to the Intercollegiate Athletics Report, average grade-point averages and SAT scores for incoming football players at UNC-CH climbed in 2012-13, hitting 3.43 and 1060, respectively. Those values were tops among the 11 schools in the UNC System that play football.

Average GPAs for incoming men’s basketball players at UNC-CH declined to 2.96, down from 3.14 in 2011-12. Only NC A&T University and Elizabeth City State reported lower GPAs of the 11 schools measured.

In the entire UNC system, 22 out of 1,343 freshman recruits in 2012-13 received exceptions, according to the report. That figure represents less than one-tenth of one percent of all the 32,374 freshmen in the system for the academic year.

Also noted in the report:

*Eleven of the 4,270 incoming freshmen at North Carolina State University received minimum course requirement exceptions. Of those, five were student athletes.

*GPA and SAT scores at NC State for NC State freshmen recruited to play football and basketball decreased in 2012-13.

*The NCAA recognized five teams from UNC-CH for making exceptional academic progress, the most of any school in the UNC system. Four other schools, including NC State, had three teams recognized for their progress.

*Business, including management and marketing, is the top-choice major for 21 percent of all student-athletes across the system. Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness account for 15 percent while communication/journalism is the focus of 11 percent.

*Twelve of the 15 UNC system schools that feature athletics received an NCAA violation. However, only one infraction was deemed to be major (Level I). That one was reported by UNC-Greensboro. UNC and NC State each reported 20 or more possible infractions in 2012-13, which is not out of the ordinary for athletic programs of their size, according to the report.