Public Records Requests Yield Glimpse of ACC Special Admit athletes

The Baltimore Sun

We know that universities often use forgiving admissions criteria to admit top athletes who wouldn't otherwise get in.

But what happens to these football and basketball players once they arrive in their college classrooms? Do their grades ever catch up to those of other students? Do they get degrees?

Six months ago, I started filing open-records law requests to try to find out. I filed with Maryland, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Florida State and the other public schools in the conference – as well as some in the Big Ten.

The findings – that special admits tend to maintain worse college GPAs, graduate at a lower rate and leave school at a higher rate than other athletes – raise more questions.

Are “special admits” policies useful because they provide universities with more diversity and offer athletes – some of whom are the first in their families to attend college – important educational opportunities?

Or do the policies exploit athletes by admitting them on the basis of their physical talents without a realistic chance to compete academically?

I don’t have the answer here. But it’s an important debate. And a better debate the more facts we can move into public view.

Here is my story.

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