If you’ve read SFN for any length of time, you’ve noticed that we are sticklers for the real truth, the whole truth, and an accurate and educated view of the truth. With this said, I’m sure that you can recognize why the UNC athletics scandal and academic fraud cases are so fascinating to us. Today, we’ve got another in a series of ‘questions’ that we wanted to make sure wasn’t overlooked in the public domain.
On September 23, 2010, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp responded to a list of questions presented by the News & Observer’s John Drescher on the previous Sunday. The entirety of Thorp’s comments can be found here. Specifically, I wanted to highlight the following:
7) Is UNC admitting more football players who don’t meet typical UNC admission standards than it did five or 10 years ago?
No. Since Coach Davis arrived, the average SAT for football has gone up 47 points.
There are actually TWO answers/items/issues here that need to be separated:
- Thorp clearly answers ‘NO’ to state a position that UNC is not admitting more football players who don’t meet typical UNC admission standards than five &/or ten years ago.
- Since Coach Davis arrived, the average SAT scores for football players have gone up 47 points.
Thorp’s comments didn’t square with some of the unverified information SFN has received regarding the academic prong of the current scandal as we have previously heard that an astronomical number – something along the lines of 45% to 50% – of Butch Davis’ recruits have been admitted by ‘special committee’ (once referred to as “academic exceptions” until Carolina hilariously did away with that designation years ago.) It isn’t/wasn’t hard for us to believe those ‘rumors’ in light of the embarrassment of the Dwight Jones recruitment and some of the information that has dripped out related to the academic strength of some other UNC players (that we will leave nameless for the sake of respect).
(1) Thorp: UNC is not admitting more football players who don’t meet typical UNC admission standards than it did five and/or 10 years ago.
Fantastic. Prove it. This can’t be hard or a major issue for Carolina. UNC obviously has the data available to answer the question as Thorp included this answer in his letter within three days of the publishing of Drescher’s questions. Thorp and UNC have chosen to open this door and address this issues – so, address it. What are the numbers of special academic admissions compared to those of five years ago and ten years ago?
Let’s not play the game of selecting the admissions information of a single year and compare it to a previous year. Obviously, the spirit of Thorp’s comments lend one to believe that in the four years of Davis’ tenure the number of exceptions are less than the previous rolling four year period and/or the prior rolling four-to-five year periods.
This can’t get more simple or more valuable for UNC. Why wouldn’t all UNC fans and employees not want the specifics of this information in the public domain since it paints Coach Davis and the program in such a positive light?
Media, where are you?
(2) Thorp: Since Coach Davis arrived, the average SAT scores for football players have gone up 47 points
I ask that you take a look at this entry that we ran earlier in the week focused on this year’s freshman class at NC State. Read the comments section for some fantastic conversation, and education…but also to get updated on some changes in the scoring of the SAT of which you may not have previously been familiar. In short: a ‘writing’ section was added to the SAT in 2005 that served to raise the maximum score from 1,600 points to 2,400.
For the record – Butch Davis was hired at UNC on November 13, 2006.
I’m sure that anyone with a mathematically strong degree from NC State can see where I am going with this. For those of you who majored in “Curry Math”, allow me to continue:
- when Butch Davis was hired as football coach the five recruiting classes comprising the Tar Heel roster included four years of SAT scores on a 1,600 point scare and one year of SAT scores on a 2,400 point scale.
- Today, the entire roster of five recruiting classes is comprised of a 2,400 point scale.
…yet, Holden Thorp and the folks at UNC are promoting that the team’s SAT scores are up a whopping 47 points while the grading scale of the test rose by 800 points (or 50% of the previous maximum score). WOW! Surely we are missing something here? And, surely Thorp and UNC didn’t intentionally leave out the relevant and important impact that the change in the SAT’s scoring would have on this comparison?
I readily admit that the previous analysis could be incorrect. Thorp may have meant something different from what he said. But, this is exactly what he stated in his letter… and is all of the information that we have at our disposal on the topic. So, how about clarifying the record? How about some sharing with the taxpayers of the State of North Carolina? Again, Thorp/UNC chose to answer these questions and obviously have the information at their disposal to carlify the answers with specifics.
Mainstream media, where are you on this stuff? Dave Glenn, Adam Gold, Joe Ovies, Taylor Zarzour and the rest of the Raleigh Radio Brigade – you have Dick Baddour on your show at least once a week. This can’t be that controversial of a topic since Thorp had no problem addressing it (with no supporting data) in his letter to the N&O. How about getting us clarity on this? News & Observer? Charlotte Observer? Any other Observer? We’ve done the math for you. We’ve done the work for you…how about getting us some specific answers?
SFN Comments (2:45pm):
I wanted to highlight this link to some fantastic work done by the Daily Tar Heel on this issue. It provides some insight into the conversation, but it unfortunately does not give us the specifics we seek related to football and an attempt to quantify Thorp’s comments by comparing the aggregate of the Butch Davis’ years to previous five year periods in recent Carolina history.
Upon further review of a very confusingly laid out graphic, it appears that the article does not specifically discuss the number of football players that have been admitted as ‘committee cases’. The University appears only interested in the overall number of athletes without providing specifics of the football program.
The University is making fewer exceptions for student athletes whose high school academic records don’t meet minimum admission requirements.
This year’s freshman class includes 14 athletes who were granted admission under the exception process. About 30 were being granted a decade ago, he said. Most “committee cases” — those that come before faculty seeking an exception — are football players.
So, our point remains – we’d would love some clarity on the issue and also would love to know what percentage of overall admissions is an acceptable number to qualify for upholding ‘The Carolina Way’? Since Carolina is not just any other school; and is, by its own decree a ‘Public Ivy’…what number/percentage of academic exceptions for the football program is acceptable?
Once Thorp shares with us the number of academic exceptions playing for Butch Davis, pleas stay tuned for one our future pieces on how many of these academic exceptions have ever been ineligible for game participation because of academic reasons? We’ll run it in tandem with a look at how a student who scores one-point away from having ‘literacy problems’ can remain academically eligible at a “Public Ivy” for his entire career?
NCStatePride Edit: As some of our posters pointed out, the discussion of a 2400 point SAT scale to the Thorp referenced 1600 may be a moot point. Still, questions remained unanswered by Thorp and untouched by the media:
(1) What average is this “47 point rise” compared to? The average of the team since 1996 when the SAT was re-adjusted to make 500-500 “average” or the average under the previous coach? “Average” is a sneaky word and is rendered useless unless scoped properly.
(2) You get practically 200 points for submitting a blank test form… what point was Thorp trying to make touting a 47 point increase in the first place? Also, is this 47 point increase the result of higher standards or the result of well-documented grade inflation?
(3) Why hasn’t the media been all over these issues? Our favorite local sports-talk radio hosts love to nit-pick every little thing printed on some blogs and message boards, yet they don’t want to pick up on obviously vauge items such as there? Where is the risk-taking and enthusiasm to attain a more detailed and specific version of the whole truth? The specifics in this piece by StateFans are one thing, but the surprising (or perhaps unsurprising) ‘looking the other way’ by the media is just intolerable.