I'm writing with some observations about the admissions issue.
President Barker has been very clear in his mandate that the
admissions process must maintain a "level field" for our recruiting
while maintaining academic integrity. At the National IPTAY meeting
last week in Columbia, President Barker stated that University
administrative processes are always subject to review for evaluation
and improvement. In that regard, athletics looks forward to
participating in a review. We appreciate this opportunity because
there are clearly different perspectives about some aspects of the
admissions process. However, having such differences is nothing new
at colleges and universities.
Having said that - the following are some personal reactions to
emails, letters, phone calls, etc. that have been received.
. There is no university conspiracy to devalue the football program
in favor of an academic ranking. To suggest so is simply not true.
If I believed that, I would not remain at Clemson.
. College athletics operates in an environment where winning and
academics do and will continue to coexist. There are numerous
examples of this being successfully done. One only has to look at
this year's final football rankings to see that outstanding programs
are from top public universities.
. The college football landscape is changing. Not only the
competition with the addition of teams to the ACC such as Miami,
Boston College and Virginia Tech, but also NCAA academic
requirements. For example, the new NCAA Academic Progress Rates
(APR) and Graduation Success Rates (GSR's) mandate successful
academic progress and graduation performance. Academics at Clemson
are getting more rigorous as the academic quality of the university
improves and more top students apply.
. Coach Bowden is measured by many things, but his ultimate goal is
championship performance with integrity. I do expect him and his
coaches to advocate strongly and aggressively for those recruits he
thinks can help the program win championships. The coaches work
extremely hard at recruiting within the NCAA rules. The last three
years, including this year, we've seen very good results in the
quality of our recruits.
. The purpose of the Athletic Admissions Review Committee (AARC) is
to be an advocate and provide oversight for academics. In effect,
with access to sensitive personal information from several sources,
they help determine if a prospective athlete has a reasonable chance
of being successful in the classroom and graduating. The AARC was
established prior to my arrival in 2002 as a result of the NCAA
Certification Review in 2001. Through its work, they are able to
identify most athletes who would not be able to qualify under minimum
NCAA guidelines. However, the majority of student-athletes are
accepted via the normal university admissions process, not the AARC.
. I appreciate and greatly respect the leadership of President
Barker. Contrary to what has been said or written, President Barker
strongly supports athletics in a very significant fashion. Provost
Dori Helms is a fair minded and outstanding Provost. Dori has been
very good to work with on those occasions that I must appeal denials
of admissions from the AARC. Dr. Larry LaForge is an excellent
faculty representative. While Larry is new to the position, he is
very level headed and thoughtful. And, even though there are some
differences, I know the AARC members are very conscientious
professionals who work hard to do their job as they are currently
charged. In several situations, they have been unfairly criticized
for their work.
. In one case this year, had the AARC had more timely information
from the Athletic Department, the withdrawal of a scholarship offer
at the last minute would not have occurred. This is our fault and
will be corrected.
. At the end of the day we must ensure we have a process that fairly
addresses both a "level field" and academic integrity. Otherwise, we
will not fulfill the promise we make to all our athletes - a chance
to be successful in athletics and in life.
I welcome the opportunity for the review and working with Provost
Helms, the AARC, the coaches and staff to evaluate our processes and
improve as needed to ensure that our coaches have a level playing
field in recruiting while maintaining academic integrity. These two
goals are not mutually exclusive.
We all understand what is at stake, both athletically and academically.
In Solid Orange,
Terry Don Phillips
Statement from Terry Don Phillips
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