Faculty Urges North Carolina to Push 'Bold' Athletics Reform

October 17, 2013

Following last year’s academic scandal and its continuing repercussions, a group of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty members wants officials to use the nationally televised UNC-University of Miami football game tonight “to reaffirm its core values and to lead by example." In a statement obtained by Inside Higher Ed, UNC’s Athletic Reform Group made a series of “bold action” recommendations to improve athlete welfare, including addressing long-term health care needs of students who are injured in their sport, and not enrolling athletes who are underprepared academically through special admissions processes.

The statement acknowledges the budding All Players United movement, in which athletes wrote APU on their wrist tape during televised games to protest their treatment by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The UNC group, led by Lewis Margolis, associate professor of maternal and child health, and the history professor Jay M. Smith, does not advocate for compensation for athletes. But it does argue a related point, and one that speaks to the no-show classes that were primarily filled by athletes.

“At least the university must ensure that the education offered athletes in their scholarship agreement is a bona fide university education filled with the measurable learning experiences typical of an undergraduate education at Carolina,” the statement reads. “Henceforth, the university should affirm the validity of the scholarship agreement by attaching the provost’s signature to the contract.”

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