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Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

April 10, 2006

In my last column, I spoke briefly about the changed academic environment at Clemson and the Athletic Admissions Review Committee. I had previously touched upon this and believed, provided information that spoke to the issues. However, I’ve had some inquiry, so I thought I’d touch on the process again for clarity.

The Athletic Admissions Review Committee (AARC) is comprised of faculty, admissions staff, Faculty Athletic Representative, and the Director of Vickery Hall. A primary triggering point for review of a prospective student-athlete’s academic record occurs is when the student-athlete is not in the upper half of their class. Class rank and SAT scores are the more critical factors for admission into Clemson – and, therefore the importance of class rank in reviewing academic credentials. The AARC reviews SAT scores, core courses, recommendations from teachers, coaches, counselors, etc. from the school, as well as presentations by the recruiting coach.

Again, as stated in the last column, the review is to determine a reasonable opportunity for academic success. This review is done under the prescribed circumstances regardless of whether the NCAA Clearinghouse has cleared the prospect for initial eligibility at all NCAA institutions. So, whether a student-athlete has been declared eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse is not the threshold question. Keep in mind that just this year, the NCAA Clearinghouse had provided initial eligibility in some instances, only to find out later, the transcripts they relied upon were from bogus prep schools. Presently, the NCAA has a task force reviewing their process, and we can expect changes.

But, bottom line, going forward – there may be some prospective student-athletes that we may have to pull off from recruiting or there is a possibility that admission may not be provided once all the facts are in regarding a particular prospective student-athlete. However, the AARC works diligently to be very fair to our prospective student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the recruiting process. We all know how extremely competitive it is in recruiting and that we must recruit athletically gifted students who can compete at the very highest levels given our traditions and the mandate/expectations of the University, as well as ourselves; however, this must be balanced with the opportunity to be successful academically. This review process has also taken on new and significant meaning with the loss of elective courses and the new NCAA Academic Progress Rates standards.

Elective courses have been, historically, a good opportunity to enhance grade point averages and retain eligibility. However, the downside of electives is the possibility that a student could get to the junior and senior years and be behind in their core curriculum and hinder their opportunity to graduate. The removal of a significant number of elective courses from the curriculum is intended to move a student toward graduation in a shorter period of time.

The new NCAA Academic Progress Rates is a measure of retention. If Clemson admits student-athletes that are not successful and impacts retention, the loss of scholarships under NCAA rules could happen. Obviously, loss of scholarships would have significant detrimental effects on a program.

And finally, we are blessed to have Vickery Hall. Vickery Hall is a very well funded program that allows us to take young people and move them toward academic success. Based upon experience at other universities, I know it is one of the best in America. Yes, we have very significant challenges, but I know we will meet those challenges.

In Solid Orange, Terry Don Phillips

Past Columns April 3, 2006March 20, 2006March 13, 2006March 3, 2006February 15, 2006February 3, 2006January 18, 2006January 10, 2006December 21, 2005December 13, 2005December 6, 2005November 30, 2005November 22, 2005November 16, 2005November 9, 2005November 1, 2005October 25, 2005October 19, 2005October 11, 2005October 4, 2005September 26, 2005September 21, 2005September 5, 2005August 23, 2005August 4, 2005July 26, 2005June 28, 2005May 23, 2005April 25, 2005April 4, 2005March 16, 2005February 23, 2005February 15, 2005February 9, 2005February 1, 2005January 25, 2005January 18, 2005January 11, 2005January 6, 2005December 15, 2004December 7, 2004November 30, 2004November 17, 2004November 10, 2004November 3, 2004October 26, 2004October 21, 2004October 11, 2004October 4, 2004