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SS.05.01

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN SENATE

REPORT OF THE ASSOCIATE PROVOST
OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS AND RECORDS

ON THE ADMISSION OF STUDENT-ATHLETES

On September 15, 1983, the Board of Trustees approved a special admissions policy stating, in part, “. . . for experimental and special programs that provide academic support services, space may be reserved for applicants of different qualifications, not to exceed ten percent of the entering freshman class.” Consequently, under recent entering freshman class enrollments, approximately 725 spaces in each freshman class have been eligible for reservation for all special admissions, including student-athletes.

Subsequently, on October 10, 1983, the Senate received a recommendation from the Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions and Educational Programs for Student-Athletes that the Director of Admissions and Records continuously monitor the progress of student-athletes admitted under the special admissions policy and that, at the end of every three years, the Director report to the Senate. This report is made in fulfillment of that recommendation, the previous report being received by the Senate on March 11, 2002.

Background

Five major developments have affected the admissions of student-athletes to this campus: The enactment of NCAA Proposition 48; the preliminary evaluation of academic credentials of most recruits prior to their signing a letter of intent; the establishment of the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse; the initiation of the Transition Program with its Bridge and Academic Year components; and formation of the Committee on the Admission of Student-Athletes (CASA).

1) Implementation of Proposition 48 in fall 1987 established criteria for eligibility and provided a reasonable starting point in the consideration of a prospective student-athlete’s chance for academic success. Under current rules (implemented fall 1995) of that program, a qualifier must complete 13 core courses in specific subject areas, attain at least a 2.5 grade-point average (A=4.0) in those courses, and earn either an ACT composite score of 17 or a total score on the SAT of 820 (after 4/1/95). A partial qualifier is one who presents an overall cumulative high school grade-point average of at least a 2.5 on an A=4.0 scale, but who fails to meet the required average in core courses and/or fails to achieve the minimum test score requirement.

2) In 1993 the preliminary evaluation by an assistant director in the Office of Admissions and Records of the academic credentials of most prospective recruits prior to their signing a letter of intend provided a “red flag” to the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics about possible partial qualifiers and nonqualifiers early in the recruitment process.

3) Beginning fall 1994 all freshman student athletes were reviewed for initial eligibility by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse.

4) Introduced in 1986, the Transition Program provides needed assistance each year to 100 admitted freshman students with academic weakness that could place them “at risk” if they were permitted to enter the University without such a resource. A maximum of 25 of these spaces each year may be used for recruited student-athletes.

The Transition Program has two components:

a) Summer Bridge, a six-week residential summer session sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, engages 50 students in intensive coursework in mathematics, composition, and basic skills development. This experience is provided at no cost to the students.

b) Under its Academic Year component, the Transition Program, in cooperation with various departments and colleges, sponsors special course sections tailored to meet the needs of special admission students; these classes enroll a small number of students and thus permit and encourage greater student-teacher interaction. Additional academic support is provided by the Office of Minority Student Affairs. A student who successfully completes four semesters in the Transition Program with a “C” or better average has an admissions space reserved in the college and curriculum of his or her choice.

The Transition Program has demonstrated its ability to provide the developmental assistance and careful monitoring necessary to student success.

5) The Committee on the Admission of Student-Athletes (CASA) was formed in 1983 at the direction of Chancellor John Cribbet; committee members are appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Voting members are assistant and associate deans of the colleges that admit new freshmen, plus the Director of Admissions and Records (now the Director of Undergraduate Admissions who reports to the Associate Provost). (A list of current members is attached.)

The committee is charged to review student-athlete applications requiring special admission consideration, including the following applicant categories:

a) Those who lack one or more courses required to meet high school subject pattern requirements.

b) Those whose rank-in-class and admission test score predict less than a one-in-two chance of achieving a “C” average for the first semester on campus.

c) Those with a score of 17 or lower on either the ACT English or mathematics tests: such applicants must be reviewed for possible placement into the Transition Program’s Academic Year component.

d) Those with a score of 15 or lower on the Act English test or a score of 16 or lower on the ACT mathematics test: such applicants must be considered for possible placement in the Summer Bridge component.

In each case, the committee seeks to determine whether the student’s objective academic record and demonstrated academic motivation, plus the special support services available, will combine to give him or her a reasonable chance for academic success. Admission must be approved by the dean of the college in which the student wishes to enroll.

Most importantly, the committee has the authority to deny admission to the campus, and any such decision is binding for all colleges.

Observations

1. CASA action is not required for the majority of student-athlete applications, but the percentage requiring such action is up slightly. During the past three-year period, student-athlete applications requiring CASA review ranged from 40.8% to 48.47% per year, as compared to a range of 28.0% to 33.7% per year over the prior three-year period.

2. The primary cause of referral to CASA was applicant failure to meet the high school subject pattern requirement, 17.1%. The remaining referral reasons were (1) deficiency in meeting the required predicted grade-point average of 2.0 (A=4), 14.3%; (2) possible Transition Program, 12.9%; and (3) possible Bridge Component requirement, 2.4%. (See Table 1).

3. Eighty-nine percent (477) of all student-athletes enrolled between fall 2002 and fall 2004 remain in school; of the 477 new student-athletes enrolled during this period, only 53 are not registered for the current semester. This includes 6 who were dropped for academic reasons and 47 who withdrew while on “clear” status.

4. With the academic and personal support provided by the University via the Transition/Bridge Program, 80.9% (38 of 47) of student-athletes admitted and enrolled under that program’s auspices during the period covered by this report remain registered students. Ninety-seven percent of those students have cumulative grade-point averages above 2.00, including eighteen percent above 3.00. These figures are testimony to the effectiveness of the Transition Program.

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