Academics & Athletics - A Clash of Cultures: Division I Football Programs

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary C. Willingham (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stephen Ruzicka

Abstract: Since its inception, collegiate football has been impacted by low retention and graduation rates. While admission standards are on the rise at major public universities, many under-prepared student-athletes (football) are admitted each year because they are the 'best' player in the state/country, creating academic disparities. The history, culture and economic success of the university athletic program, especially football, play a pivotal role in explaining these disparities. The data collected and recorded over the past two decades will demonstrate that there is a growing disparity in the academic preparation between college students and college student-athletes (football) at thirty-one Division I institutions. The GPA (grade point average), SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) scores, and graduation rates, however, do not accurately measure these discrepancies. The academic deficits of the special admit student-athlete can only be assessed through performance-based measurements of reading, writing and math. Ideally, these assessments should be done much earlier in the education process so that remediation can take place before entering college. Despite the academic support and resources available to special admit student-athletes, it is not possible to remediate and take college level degree applicable courses at the same time. The graduation rate of DI football players (50%, 2009) can be explained, then, by the low admission standards that suggest a lack of proficiency in basic academic skills.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Collegiate football, Academic preparation, Special admit student-athlete, Graduation rate

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