November 20, 2012, 5:30 pm
Notre Dame’s football program this week became the first to earn a No. 1 ranking in the Bowl Championship Series standings while having the nation’s top graduation rate.
The Fighting Irish had a 97-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate in the most recent period. That’s more than 20 points higher than the results of any of the other top-five BCS programs.
The team’s Academic Progress Rate, a more accurate NCAA measure of players’ real-time academic performance, is 970, putting it in the top 70 to 80 percent of football programs nationally.
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, shared a few thoughts with The Chronicle about the challenge of balancing academics with a sports-crazed culture.
Q. How do you emphasize academics with so much pressure to win?
A. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, either. It requires a real commitment up and down the line….
November 19, 2012, 12:54 pm
Maryland regents approved the university’s move to the Big Ten Conference on Monday, but not all of them were happy about how the deal went down.
C. Thomas McMillen, a former Maryland basketball standout and one of 17 University System of Maryland regents, said he had voted against the proposal and was “particularly opposed” to the process that led to the decision. The university had two days to decide whether to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which it was a founding member, and a confidentiality clause prevented university leaders from talking to people with a stake in the decision.
“I thought that something as monumental as this should take more time,” Mr. McMillen told The Chronicle. “I thought the players, the coaches—even the ACC, which we have been involved with for 60 years—should be a part of the decision.”
“These conferences and commissioners basically hold…
November 18, 2012, 8:09 pm
The proposed addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference, which remained up in the air late Sunday, would have implications well beyond the league. The move could prompt the Big 12 and other elite conferences to reopen expansion talks. And it increases the likelihood that the most powerful leagues will eventually have 16 institutions, several top athletics officials told The Chronicle.
Late Sunday, Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland at College Park, was expected to brief the system’s regents on a plan to join the Big Ten. The regents will meet on Monday morning to vote on the matter, ESPN reported. The move—which some say boils down to tradition versus money—would help the Terrapins’ athletic department shore up its shaky finances. But many Maryland supporters oppose leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference, a top-tier league of which they are a…
October 1, 2012, 5:09 pm
Academic advisers were aware of bogus classes for athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And some tutors knew of lifted passages in papers that players were using to stay eligible for sports, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
The latest revelations indicate that members of North Carolina’s academic-support unit for athletes used certain upper-level classes in the department of African and Afro-American studies to keep academically unprepared first-year football players on the field.
Previously, the university believed that the academic problems—which centered on some 54 classes that did not require athletes and other students to meet—were limited to Julius Nyang’oro, a former chair of the department, and Deborah Crowder, a department manager. The new records suggest that at least one other professor in the department was aware of the no-show classes.
September 22, 2012, 8:00 am
Pat Forde put an interesting spin on the jewelry controversy involving Lance Thomas, a former Duke University basketball player, in his Yahoo! Sports column on Friday:
If there is anything even approximating a logical explanation for why a senior in college walked into a boutique jeweler on 47th Street in midtown Manhattan that caters to celebrities and professional athletes, and paid $30,000 up front for a black diamond necklace, a diamond-encrusted watch, a diamond cross, diamond earrings and a black diamond pendant in the shape of Jesus’ head, we’d all love to hear it.
We’d also love to hear why the store would extend him a 15-day line of credit to pay the remaining sum of nearly $68,000–and where Thomas thought he was going to come up with that money to pay the rest of the bill.
An out-of-court settlement reached in the case this week makes it unlikely that the former Blue…
September 12, 2012, 12:34 pm
Notre Dame announced on Wednesday that it planned to move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football, shoring up the ACC and raising new questions about the Big East’s future.
The Irish—who will join the ACC as soon as they can exit the Big East, reports ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy–follows five former Big East institutions that have left for the ACC in recent years: Boston College, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech.
The deal calls for Notre Dame to play five football games a year against ACC programs, which could jeopardize some of its longtime rivalries in the Midwest, writes SI.com’s Pete Thamel. Notre Dame traditionally plays Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, along with Southern California and Navy—an independence that it has long enjoyed.
The possibility of Notre Dame’s bringing its football program to the Atlantic Coast Conference was never…
August 17, 2012, 12:19 pm
“North Carolina provides an immediate and intriguing test case for the expanded powers of Mark Emmert and the NCAA,” Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports writes. “Will he and the NCAA executive committee cowboy up again? Will they circumvent the rules manual and due process and go after Carolina on the basis of general principle, à la Penn State?”
The more we learn, the more it seems UNC has made a mockery of its ballyhooed academic mission for a long time in order to gain competitive advantage in football and men’s basketball. With the introduction of what apparently is former two-sport star Julius Peppers’s transcript into the public forum, it seems reasonable to assume that Carolina has been skating athletes through the African and Afro-American studies department in order to maintain eligibility for more than a decade.
That cuts across multiple coaching tenures and multiple sports. And…
July 9, 2012, 12:18 pm
More today on the apparent phony classes taken by many UNC athletes, from The News & Observer:
“Of the 38 courses the university says [Julius Nyang’oro] was responsible for over five summers, 26 of them listed a maximum capacity for just one student … University records show more than one student enrolled in most of these courses. And often, a substantial share of those students were athletes.”
Nyang’oro, the former chairman of the African and Afro-American Studies department where all of those courses were listed, did not get paid for 29 of the suspect summer classes, the Raleigh, N.C., newspaper reports.
Willis Brooks and Jay Smith, two Chapel Hill history professors, say the enrollment and pay data suggest Nyang’oro had set up a system for athletes to get into classes they could pass.
“The only logic I can conjure is (Nyang’oro) was protecting seats,” said…
July 3, 2012, 10:35 am
Maryland on Monday said it would eliminate seven sports in response to plummeting donor support and football ticket sales, the Washington Post reports. Men’s outdoor track and field, which it had planned to cut, survived thanks to the program’s fund-raising efforts.
The Post‘s Liz Clarke puts the cuts in context:
“Over the last five years, 205 varsity teams have been dropped in NCAA Division I, the top ranks of college sports—133 for men, 72 for women. Men’s tennis, gymnastics, and wrestling have been hit particularly hard. Rutgers cut six sports in 2007 to address a multimillion-dollar deficit. Brigham Young, Clemson, Washington, and UCLA have also pared offerings.
“No major university has cut as deeply as Maryland, however, and some point to its budget woes as a warning that the current model of college sports, marked by overzealous spending in pursuit of success in…
June 5, 2012, 5:00 am
Colleges change their athletic-conference affiliation for all sorts of reasons, but it’s mostly to make more TV money and move up the perceived ladder of prestige. It’s rare to hear anyone talk about the academic impact.
But switching leagues, it turns out, often enhances an institution’s ability to attract and retain high-quality students. Those are among the findings from a paper to be presented on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Association for Institutional Research.
In fact, many of the 32 Division I colleges that changed conferences between 2004 and 2011 and were part of the study saw some sort of academic benefit from the switch, according to Dennis A. Kramer II and Michael J. Trivette, the two doctoral students at the University of Georgia who wrote the paper.
On average, colleges that moved to a new league saw about a 3-percent decrease in their admit rate…