Cradling athletes contradicts goals

The University is admitting students with significantly worse credentials.

The University continues to build on its superficial qualities in order to gauge the success of this campus while ignoring the pressing issues involving the poor academics of athletes. In fact, tremendous money and effort are being invested to the polish the University’s image, whether it’s the Carlson School of Management groundbreaking, the Scholars Walk, or the massive Driven to Discover branding campaign now visible all over campus.

Indeed the University has built more, but it has also lost a lot.

Despite the campaigns and initiatives around campus, pressing issues continue to emerge. The Star Tribune recently reported that the University is one of the worst Big Ten schools for graduating athletes, and it likewise admits some of the lowest-scoring students.

The football team, in a period of five seasons, recruited 16 players who scored a 15 or lower on the ACT. This embarrassing figure is more than the combined lowest scores of several Big Ten teams. While this recent spotlight is slightly better than the scandal involving academic dishonesty in 1999, it is still a significant issue that cannot go ignored, and no flamboyant initiatives can hide such embarrassment.

If the University was concerned with accepting a wide variety of students, including those who might have slightly lower test scores (or, in this case, significantly lower), it certainly would have maintained the number of students that were formerly admitted into the General College. But the University did not do that, and so this entire debate is centered on an academic institution bringing in less academically inclined students for the sole purpose of assembling a football team.

The University’s cradling of athletes with ACT scores that are far below the national average contradicts its constant push to be one of the top three public research institutions in the world. Does this not contradict all of the goals for the future of the University?