Report calls for new policies involving athletics at UNC - WNCN: News, Weather

Report calls for new policies involving athletics at UNC

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

An extensive report issued Tuesday on athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill calls for new policies to make sure athletics remains in its proper place at the school.

The Rawlings Panel on Intercollegiate Athletics calls for a number of measures, including making sure that:

  • the chancellor has ultimate authority for athletics
  • athletes meet the same standards as other students who are special admits
  • academic services operates without any influence from athletics, including the coaching staff

The recommendations continue a long process of UNC evaluating the role of athletics at the school in light of problems with the football team and revelations that athletes took no-show classes at the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

Chancellor Carol Folt responded to the recommendations handed down by the Rawlings Panel.

"We thank Dr. Rawlings and a highly accomplished panel for the time they took to consider not only how Carolina, but how all other universities can ensure excellence in athletics and academics," said Folt. "We will take advantage of the opportunities and insights provided by the panel to improve and to lead on these issues."

The long probes ended in the firing of football coach Butch Davis, the early retirement of athletics director Dick Baddour, the stepping down and eventual departure of Chancellor Holden Thorp.

Thorp appointed the panel, chaired by Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities, earlier this year in response to a 2012 faculty report, UNC said.

Read the full report here

The lengthy report issued Tuesday notes that collegiate athletics is fundamentally different than professional sports.

"By contrast [to professional sports] the governance of intercollegiate athletics is far more complex," the report states. "As a starting point, unlike in professional sports, the core purpose of the university is not athletics.

"Because of lack of clarity or control, decisions in intercollegiate athletics can result from undue influence by individuals who provide advice and have an interest, but who clearly have neither authority nor responsibility.

"In the interest of preventing such erosion, UNC-CH should  insure that it implements specific policies designed to preserve tight institutional control of intercollegiate athletics."

The chancellor is essential to those controls. The report said UNC, now led by Carol Folt, should:

"Insure that the chancellor, subject to the general oversight of the governing board, system administration, or both, has ultimate authority, responsibility, and accountability for the administration of intercollegiate athletics."

The school should also "establish written procedures to insure that those with authority and responsibility to govern the athletics programs of the institution are able to do so without improper influence from others within or outside the institution."

The report had some pointed words about compliance. It said that "the unit that provides academic support services for student/athletes operates without any undue influence by athletics officials and staff, including coaching staff."

The report also had specific recommendations for how athletes are admitted to UNC. It said Carolina should "insure that the admissions process for student/athletes is essentially the same as that for other applicants with special talents; that the same office that admits other undergraduate applicants to the institution also has final decision."

Students across campus reacted the recommendations. "I've been in classes with multiple athletes, football, baseball, lacrosse, women's soccer, the classes were very real and they were held to the same standard that I was," said student Dillon Zanikos.

It also said the school should establish standards and expectations for the medical staff that works with athletics, and that coaches have no hiring or supervisory role with the medical staff.

In addition, the report called for an annual internal audit and an external audit every four years to test how the measures are going.

The report also said the school's financial information for athletics should be "more transparent" by publishing NCAA financial reports.

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