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Stanford University

Stanford University's Faculty Senate last week approved a three-year pilot program that would allow athletes who are admitted to enroll before the fall.

Currently athletes are admitted to enroll with other freshmen each fall.

Stanford's pilot will allow athletes -- primarily football players -- to enroll before the rest of the freshman class.

The policy responds to changes in football recruiting. Officials cited the University of Southern California and the University of Notre Dame -- two institutions with which Stanford competes for students -- where some 60 percent of football recruits began matriculating early.

During the past year, 68 students were given football scholarship offers to study at Stanford. Sixteen of the students chose Stanford. Of the 52 who did not, 27 began their college careers in January at another institution.

The university's summary of the Faculty Senate action said, "Although the proposal earned approval, a considerable number of senators expressed concern about the level of preparation of the athletes, issues of equity with non-athletes who also might be advantaged by early admission and whether early-admission athletes could ever be integrated into the first-year cohort."

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