The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Faculty Senate approves changes to athletic admissions policy

Faculty senate voted to approve two changes to the athletic admissions process Wednesday afternoon that were proposed by the athletics admissions review committee.

The changes to the athletic admissions policy applied to the GPA admissions standard and to the appeals process for those who are denied admission.

The changes are part of a set of 21 recommendations and three suggestions by the athletic admissions review committee. The committee was formed after two football players were denied admission to SMU over the summer after they had been told they were accepted.

Faculty senate was required to vote on the two measures at its Oct. 6 meeting because the measures would change admissions policy.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner approved the changes and other committee recommendations immediately after Wednesday’s faculty senate meeting.

“In recent years we have made much progress in streamlining our processes, but we needed to look at our procedures again, especially with regard to how they are communicated to the students and their families,” Turner said. “I concur with the committee that the recommended adjustments will enable athletics recruitment to be competitive and will help prospective student athletes to understand better their opportunities for an SMU education.”

The first change faculty senate approved was the type of GPA needed for a potential student athlete to be deemed admissible.

Student athlete applicants previously needed an SAT score of 900 or higher (ACT 19) and a SMU 2.5 GPA to be deemed admissible. This does not mean they are admitted automatically, but rather, applicants who fall under this category do not have to go through the Faculty Athletics Admissions Subcommittee (FAAS) for review.

Applicants whose SAT score is lower than 900 (or ACT 19) or whose SMU GPA is lower than 2.5 automatically go to the FAAS for admissions review. The FAAS reviews athlete applications to determine whether they will be able to handle SMU’s academic load.

But under the changed policy, applicants will need an SAT score of 900 or higher (ACT 19) and an NCAA 2.5 GPA to be deemed admissible. Students whose qualifications are lower than that will be referred to the FAAS.

NCAA calculates GPA by taking the highest grade if a student has repeated a course. SMU calculates GPA by factoring in all grades, even when a student has repeated a course.

Additionally, the NCAA’s high school course load recommendations are less than the courses SMU recommends. For instance, SMU recommends that a student have taken three social science courses, whereas the NCAA recommends two.

Faculty senate President Linda Eads said this change will help students and coaches navigate the admissions process.

“It uses a rubric that coaches understand,” Eads said. “Coaches generally don’t know what the SMU GPA is.”

Matthew Wilson, a member of the faculty senate’s Athletic Policy Committee, proposed the change. Wilson said the athletic department wanted clarity in the admissions process and the change “was a significant step in that direction.”

Wilson noted that multiple schools often court the same player, and that the athletes are more familiar with the NCAA GPA than the SMU GPA because many schools use the NCAA GPA.

Wilson also noted that the NCAA standards have become more rigorous in recent years, which is why he was comfortable with proposing that SMU use the NCAA GPA.

Vicki Hill, director of the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, said the change to GPA considerations was fairer to athletes and coaches.

“It’s just a number that is easier for people outside [of SMU] to calculate,” she said.

The second change that faculty senate approved was a streamlining of the appeals process for denied applicants.

Previously, denied applications could be appealed by going back to who first denied them (either an admissions officer or the review committee). If that appeal was denied, then the athletic department could go to the Dean of Admission.

Applicants also had the option to appeal a denial by going directly to the Dean of Admission.

Under the new process, all appeals will go directly to the Dean of Admission. The dean will then consult with others, including the FAAS.

Eads said the change would provide clarity to the process and put the review process “where it belongs.”

Faculty senate would be able to review and control the changes, according to Eads. She reminded senate that if the changes cause problems with students being admitted without the necessary academic skills, they could always return to the previous policy.

Above all, she said, SMU should not be admitting students who aren’t able to succeed.

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