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Current Issues with Dr. Phillips

Aug. 27, 2007

This week I’m writing on the Admissions process for student-athletes at Clemson. Given the recent media attention of this issue, I simply want to put the admissions process in perspective. By way of background – in order to better understand the admission process – you must also understand NCAA Certification requirements regarding the principles of academic integrity. [NCAA Certification is necessary for the opportunity to enjoy all benefits of membership, participate in NCAA post-season, etc.] Under Certification Academic Standards, the University is required to use either NCAA minimal initial eligibility standards for admissions or the University’s admissions standards, “WHICHEVER IS HIGHER”.

Therefore, at Clemson, you simply can’t just say we are going to admit prospective student-athletes on the basis of being NCAA qualified because NCAA minimals are not the higher standard. That will not pass muster under NCAA Certification requirements. However, if there are university admissions processes available for other students that bring those students with special talents into Clemson – but do not necessarily meet regular admissions standards – then you can utilize a parallel process for prospective student-athletes so long as there is consistency with regard to all students.

The admission process for student-athletes is consistent with the admissions process for other students with special talents that do not meet standard admission standards. Further, as a part of the admissions process, the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) and Graduation Success Rates (GSR) are now strongly reviewed by the Director of Admissions as he reviews the individual prospective student-athlete’s academic credentials. The APR’s/GSR’s measure retention, progress to a degree, and graduation. APR/GSR performance speaks strongly about how a particular sport is being academically managed, e.g. Are the coaches using good judgment in their recruiting decisions? Coaches support of academics? How overall academic assistance and support program is doing?, etc.

As a result of the Presidential Task Force Admissions Process Review, the student-athlete admissions process is now two-pronged – (1) a review of a sport’s NCAA APR/GSR scores, and (2) individual review of each student-athlete. Coupled together – this is a fair and more complete analysis in the admissions decision. In the past the APR/GSR were not necessarily relevant – they are now relevant in determining the academic management of a particular sport. From this, it can be very helpful in determining whether or not it’s reasonable to assume that a particular prospect has an opportunity to have academic success, given the success of other similarly situated student-athletes and the overall academic management of the sport.

And finally, Clemson’s admissions policy will be reviewed annually. Hope this is helpful.

In Solid Orange, Terry Don Phillips Director of Athletics