University of North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorpe has indicated that admissions for student athletes will get tougher in the near future. It is common place for all Universities, not just UNC to make exceptions to admissions policies for student athletes, according to Thorpe, it won’t happen anymore at Chapel Hill.
The news has come with mixed reactions from fans and alumni. Personally, I’m indifferent, on one hand, it’s an understandable measure considering the recent NCAA sanctions, the on-going investigations by the NCAA make it a must that Carolina takes action. On the other hand, what are they doing about the administration? If drastic measures aren’t taken by the University to police the actions of those truly responsible, then this in my mind is a cop out. Putting it back on the student athletes alone isn’t the right call if that’s all that is all the action planned, but something tells me that’s not what Thorpe is doing here.
Back to the question at hand, will these new academic standards scare prospects away from Carolina? I think the answer is absolutely yes for some, although I don’t worry about the basketball program. Football as opposed to basketball has a lot more scholarships to give out each and year, thus Larry Fedora cannot be nearly as picky as Roy Williams. Not to mention, the basketball program is much more prestigious than the football program, stating the obvious.
Roy has a history of getting to know kids well before he makes an offer to them. He likes a certain character player, not just great athletes. The basketball program under Roy Williams has a history of fielding academic All-Americans, most recently, Tyler Zeller. For a football program trying to pull itself out of the mud, this may be a small deterrent for some prospects.
In closing, I don’t expect this to be much of a problem, if any for UNC. This is after all, UNC just getting ahead of the curve in anticipation of the new NCAA imposed regulations coming in 2015. For the Universities sake, even for fans that only root for the athletics teams and have no ties to the actual University, this is also a good thing. Look at how much controversy UNC has been under lately. Any measure to avoid future bad publicity is a good one, even if it means turning away some bad students who happen to able play a major sport for your favorite team.