Jan. 18, 2005
Through the years we have been very fortunate to have Vickery Hall as a learning center for our student-athletes – the vision which created Vickery Hall was ahead of its time – and, we’re very grateful that we have this resource. Many young men and women have significantly benefited from the support and direction found in Vickery Hall.
From its formation, primary oversight for the functions of Vickery Hall has been housed in the Athletic Department – nationally, that generally ahs also been the norm. However, effective this academic year, primary oversight has now shifted to the Provost. There is still, however, dual reporting of the Director of Vickery to the Provost (via the Dean of Undergraduate Studies) and myself.
Why this change? The Provost, as Chief Academic Officer, has the responsibility to ensure the academic integrity and credibility of Clemson University. Vickery Hall is an academic function and it only makes sense that the Provost has oversight of its operations and policies. To not have this oversight runs afoul of the University’s duty and responsibility under NCAA rules to ensure institutional control.
As the Chair of the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee, I have heard appeals from institutions who have abrogated their responsibility to maintain institutional control over academic services for student-athletes. The most notable case involved the University of Minnesota and its basketball program. In that case, academic services for student-athletes, particularly basketball, was housed, maintained, and supervised by the Athletic Department. Highly significant academic fraud resulted and very substantial penalties were levied – much to the embarrassment of the University of Minnesota and its people. We must do everything possible to use best practices to not allow this to happen at our University – transfer of oversight responsibility to the Office of the Provost is a significant step in this regard.
This is not new. Many universities are incorporating this model of academic oversight, given situations such as what happened at Minnesota. Personally, I am very comfortable with the “Provost model” as this was the structure at Oklahoma State University during my years there as athletic director. I strongly believe it is healthy and necessary to ensure institutional control in the area of academic integrity. I unequivocally support this change.
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