Admission policies for athletes : a survey of NCAA Division 1-A admission directors
Wuestenberg, Pamela J., 1951-
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This research study investigated the admission policies for NCAA Division I-A athletes. Eleven university admission directors participated in personal or phone interviews regarding their admission policies for athletes. The relationship between the academic and the athletic interests of the institution converge in the athlete’s application. The designation of “recruited” is the most important factor in the athletic admission process. The support from the athletic department of the student athlete’s application initiates a commitment from the university, which translates into extra benefits in the admission process. It was found that recruited athletes receive multiple benefits in the admission process at NCAA Division I-A institutions. These benefits include a code or “marked” file, a preliminary review of available documentation, sponsorship from the athletic department, possible financial scholarship, advocacy in the appeal process, and occasionally, presidential involvement. The NCAA initial eligibility standards also provide benefits not available to other students. How this translates into the number of student athletes admitted and those denied admission is unclear, as numbers were not discussed in the interviews. Admission directors are aware of the benefits a successful athletic program brings to the institution and the use of special admission policies for athletes is part of that package. While maintaining a professional distance from athletic personnel, admission directors were found to be supportive of university athletic programs, very loyal to the institution, involved with booster and support organizations, and possessed a broad knowledge of athletic rules and recruiting strategies. The only discord found between the athletic department and admission office was the relationship between directors and coaches. Admission directors often initiated a “no contact” rule for coaches. This may speak to the pressures inherent in both positions.