Quick Takes: Accreditation Lambasted, NCAA Punishes Lynn U. for Ex-Coach's Behavior, U. of California Salary Push, Yale Student Arrested With Guns and Chemicals, College vs. Retirement, Sports Research Institute, Science Medals

July 18, 2007
  • The system of higher education accreditation is seriously flawed and should largely be gutted, according to a report released Monday by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a group that has pushed for a traditional curriculum and opposed what it views as political correctness. The report, which is an update of and largely consistent with a 2002 ACTA study on accreditation, calls for ending the requirement that student aid only be eligible at accredited institutions and for making it easier for new accrediting groups to compete with the large, regional associations. Accreditors don't guarantee quality, but do impose far too much on colleges, according to the report, "Why Accreditation Doesn't Work and What Policymakers Can Do About It." The council is led by Anne D. Neal, who was recently appointed to the committee that advises the Education Department about recognizing accrediting agencies.
  • Lynn University's women's softball team won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II championship in 2005. But that hugely successful season will be erased from the record books because of unethical behavior by the institution's former coach. The NCAA's Division II Committee on Infractions placed Lynn on two years' probation and required it to vacate its 2005 victories because the former coach, Thomas Macera, had paid two players cash totaling more than $3,000, lied about it, and encouraged the players to lie, too. The NCAA panel also ordered Macera's new institution, Valdosta State University, to appear before it and explain why it should not restrict Macera from recruiting and participating in summer sports clinics and camps, among other limits on his duties. Although Lynn officials had fought the NCAA's decision to order it to vacate its 2005 records, university administrators said Tuesday that they would not appeal. "We are disappointed that we must forfeit the 2005 national championship. That said, this is admittedly a serious situation and one that rightly deserves attention, consideration and reconciliation by the NCAA," Kristen Moraz, Lynn's athletics director, said in a prepared statement. "While we continue to believe no competitive advantage was gained through this unfortunate incident, we feel we were given adequate opportunity to represent this belief."
  • University of California officials hope to spend an extra $70 million over the next four years to increase the salaries of professors whose pay has fallen behind that offered by other universities, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Base salaries would rise by about 10 percent under the plan, which administrators said was necessary in part because private universities have deep pockets with which to go after faculty talent.
  • A Yale University student was arrested in his off-campus fraternity house Monday with 11 guns -- including two illegal assault rifles -- and a stockpile of chemicals and ammunition, The Hartford Courant reported. He was arrested after allegedly firing off pistol rounds in the living room of the fraternity.
  • Americans are split on whether they need to focus more on saving for college or for retirement. A new survey of adults responsible for a child's education found that 43 percent believe college savings are more important and 43 percent believe retirement savings are more important. Forty percent said that they did not have enough information to save for college costs. The survey was sponsored by Country Insurance and Financial Services.
  • The College Sports Research Institute will be officially unveiled today. The new research center, which will be based at the University of Memphis, will sponsor research, a national conference and a peer-reviewed journal. The new institute's director, Richard M. Southall, a member of the Drake Group, which advocates sports reform, was among scholars who had submitted papers for a proposed scholarly conference on athletics that the National Collegiate Athletic Association canceled last year. The NCAA has rescheduled its colloquium, to be staged by a group of other scholars on a range of sports-related subjects.
  • President Bush has announced the winners of the 2005 and 2006 winners of the National Medals of Science and Technology.
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