University of North Carolina urged to restore academic-athletic balance
After several years of well-publicized scandals in the athletics programs at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a new report by the Association of American Universities (AAU) urges UNC to put as much energy into academics as it does into winning national championships.
Commissioned by former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp and led by AAU President Hunter R. Rawlings III, the panel recommends actions such as: clarifying in writing the responsibilities of administrators and officers; providing academic support without undue influence by athletic officials; and ensuring that student athletes are subjected to the same general disciplinary rules and codes of conduct as are other students.
“The main theme of the report is to make certain that there are very good, tight controls in place to ensure that you don’t have these kinds of problems in the future,” says Rawlings.
The panel writes that UNC-Chapel Hill, because of its academic stature and athletic success, can take a leading role in restoring balance to intercollegiate athletics nationwide. UNC-Chapel Hill should establish model programs that incorporate new approaches that other institutions can emulate.
“Intercollegiate athletics reached a tipping point in the sense that the problems are so severe and visible,” says Rawlings. “The revenue coming into athletics is so great, while at the same time academic revenue is now often under great duress. The whole picture is getting out of balance and universities need to to take strong note of this and see what they can do to restore some balance to this enterprise.”