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Quick Takes: Performance Gap for Athletes, $3 Million Football Coaches, Boston College's Ambitions, Middle Georgia's Facebook Ban, $100 Million for Pittsburgh Schools, $1.5M Verdict in College Hazing Death, Grawemeyer for Psychology

December 5, 2007
  • Data from 71 Division III colleges suggest a gap in the academic performance of male athletes and non-athletes. The College Sports Project announced Tuesday that it has released reports to 71 presidents of Division III colleges and universities that compare academic performance between athletes and non-athletes at the end of their first year at the institution. The reports are part of a five-year longitudinal study, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Individual results by institution will remain anonymous. The findings, based on analyses of nearly 40,000 students, showed relatively modest differences in class rank by the spring of 2006 for female athletes and non-athletes. However, male athletes had class ranks 8 percentile points lower at the end of their first year at the institution when compared with their non-athlete counterparts. In addition, recruited male athletes had class ranks 7 percentile points lower than non-recruited male athletes.
  • The average salary for Division I-A head football coaches has passed $1 million for the first time, with four coaches earning more than $3 million a year, according to USA Today's annual survey of the contracts of the 120 coaches. The newspaper found that at least 50 coaches are making at least $1 million in salary (the figures exclude benefits, bonuses and perks like country club memberships and cars), up from seven a year ago. At least a dozen are paid $2 million or more, up from nine in 2006. And the University of Alabama's Nick Saban, the University of Florida's Urban Meyer and the University of Iowa's Kirk Ferentz joined last year's top paid coach, the University of Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, in topping the $3 million mark. "Is this a favorable trend? The answer is: Of course not," the chancellor of Louisiana State University, Sean O'Keefe, told the newspaper. "That said, it's also market dynamics. The value of things is determined by the demand that exists. There's nothing unfair about that." LSU is reportedly poised to raise the salary of its coach, Les Miles, above the $3 million mark.
  • In October, Boston University announced plans to spend $1.8 billion over 10 years to strengthen programs and add 150 faculty slots. Today, Boston College will announce a $1.6 billion plan to improve its programs and add 100 new faculty slots over the next decade. The Rev. William P. Leahy said in a statement that the plan was designed to make BC the world's leading Roman Catholic university and theological center.
  • Middle Georgia College has blocked Facebook and MySpace from all computers in academic buildings, The Macon Telegraph reported. Officials said that students were using campus computers to use the popular social networking services, preventing students who needed computers for academic purposes from having access.
  • The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will announce today that it is contributing $100 million toward a city scholarship program to finance college and career education for graduates of the Pittsburgh public school system, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times reported. The hospital system will provide $10 million upfront to support 2008 graduates, then donate up to $90 million more through a 10-year "challenge grant," city school officials told the newspapers.
  • A New York judge ordered a former student at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh to pay $1.5 million to the family of another former student who died in a 2003 fraternity hazing incident in which he was forced to drink so much water that he suffered water intoxication, the Albany Times-Union reported. All other parties in the wrongful death case, including the fraternity's parent organization, had settled out of court in previous years.
  • The University of Louisville on Monday night announced that the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology will go to Albert Bandura, a professor at Stanford University, for his work on how expectations about our abilities shape the tasks we choose, and for his role in the development of modern social cognition theory.
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