The Graham Plan: A Missed Opportunity For Reform In Collegiate Athletics

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ayako Nakano (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Karl Campbell

Abstract: Frank Porter Graham was arguably the greatest president of the UNC system, and certainly was an influential figure for following leaders in North Carolina’s higher education. In 1930, he became the president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and due to budgets cuts from the state, months later, became the president of the consolidated university system consisting of three universities in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. Frank Porter Graham continued to govern the consolidated university system, and Graham left his legacy as a respectable advocate for academic freedom, public education, and civil rights during his tenure. Frank Porter Graham also, in his advocacy for public education, fought vigorously to keep monetary interests from corrupting the mission of higher education. For my thesis, I would like to look into the political history of Frank Porter Graham’s contribution to the UNC system through the Graham Plan, the eleven point plan for the reformation of collegiate athletics. The core of the Graham plan was to eliminate any preferential or discriminatory treatment in financial aid for student athletes, and allowing greater control for the faculty to guide the future of collegiate athletics. Frank Porter Graham faced an enormous and quite vicious backlash, especially lead by alumnus and newspaper editorials during this movement, and had to eventually abort the mission. While the plan was aborted at the time, it also influenced President Bill Friday in the 1960s, and provides today an influential narrative for many to look up to. In this thesis, I seek to answer a few more questions including: what sort of ideologies held by Graham apparent in his other policies rationalized the Graham plan, what political climate created the need for this plan, who were the political oppositions to the Graham Plan and their specific criticism of the plan, and its lasting significance in the UNC system. This should all reconstruct the story of the plan’s genesis, presentation, passage, the ultimate fall of the plan, and convey the historical struggle with the role of athletics in universities.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Nakano, A. (2016). The Graham Plan: A Missed Opportunity For Reform In Collegiate Athletics. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016
collegiate athletics, UNC system, Frank Porter Graham, The Graham Plan

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