You can read an interesting story at the South Carolina Rivals site about the admissions process at Georgia, South Carolina and Clemmins, in particular, about the “special admissions” allocation for student athletes.
There are plenty of disclaimers and backtracking in the article, but given that it’s published at a South Carolina site, you can guess what the agenda is. Don’t want to guess? OK.
… South Carolina has recently changed their [sic] student-athlete admissions process. USC coaches were having difficulty getting students admitted at times, yet those same students were reportedly able to be admitted to Clemson, Georgia, and other schools. When asked to compare the admissions process at USC and Clemson, Sheley said, “I really can’t because I have not compared the two in detail. From what I can see in the press, they may have been able to get kids in that we can’t get in, even though their regular admissions standards appear to be higher than ours. But again, that’s at the individual institution’s discretion how they go about making exceptions. That’s the same for every institution; I guarantee that every school does bring in exceptions.”
Sheley’s got to be kidding. USC has changed its admissions process based on unsubstantiated reports in the media and coaches’ complaints? Maybe so, but here’s where it ultimately stemmed from:
“When (Athletic Director) Eric (Hyman) first came in here, he could not believe how good the academic credentials were of our Special Admits. ‘These are Special Admits?’ he asked, and I explained to him that they’re not at-risk kids. He said, ‘That’s crazy – these kids should not be Special Admits.’ So from that day, we started looking into the whole process, which was pretty cumbersome. He championed it the whole time. Eric does things very thoughtfully, thoroughly and transparently.”
I bet he does. The fix is certainly thorough. Whereas Georgia and Clemson don’t have quotas for special admits, South Carolina does.
… Of the 55 special admits allocated to athletes, 25 are assigned to football. Sheley says that football is the economic engine that drives the athletic department. Twenty-five is the same number of athletes that the NCAA rules allow a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision institution to award athletics financial aid for the first time each year. [Emphasis added.]
In other words, if Steven Orr Spurrier wanted to enroll an entire freshman class of special admits, the mechanism is in place to do exactly that. But, there’s good news for USC supporters (of the school’s academic mission, not the football team). In his first three classes, he only had to take 84% of his signees as special admits.
It’s good to be the economic engine.