UVa Review Results in Admissions Policy Changes

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Last Friday, the University of Virginia released information about an internal policy review it enacted in the wake of the national athletics admissions scandal. The school inquired into hundreds of students admitted during the past four years and drew up a series of new procedures to strengthen the process.

In a press release, as relayed by The Daily Progress, Virginia director of athletics Carla Williams said, “The overall results of this review were positive and reassuring. … “I’m grateful for the professionalism and integrity of our coaches and staff.”

UVa reserves a set of slots and scholarships specifically for incoming first-year student-athletes. However, its standard for demonstrating potential for academic success is high, and the internal review showed a fair number of talented athletics recruits were denied admission based on academic standards. 

According to the release, the review found no evidence of cheating on standardized tests, misrepresentation by prospective student-athletes, or unauthorized private payments. There were, however, cases in which a recruited athlete did not participate on the team for which they were chosen, for unexplained reasons.

University spokesperson Wes Hester refused to confirm any disciplinary decisions that came about as a result of the review. In an email to The Daily Progress, Hester wrote, “[T]he university will not discuss specific cases or findings in order to protect the privacy of our students. The university has, however, taken remedial action where appropriate and has put in place new procedures designed to strengthen the process for considering the admission of student-athletes and adhere to best practices.”

The new policy recommendations assert that from here forward the university will “refrain from soliciting or accepting financial contributions from prospective student-athletes and their families during the recruiting and application process; independently verify information supplied by coaches about all recruited student-athletes; audit the rosters of all athletic teams to ensure the participation of all recruited student-athletes; require all recruited student-athletes to pledge, at the time of admission, to participate in the sports programs for which they have been recruited and allow rescission of admission offers if the student-athletes do not participate and the university concludes that their pledges were not sincere; and design and implement robust training for all coaches regarding the university’s academic standards and the process by which the Office of Undergraduate Admission considers the credentials of prospective student-athletes. This training will also include information about coaches’ roles in fundraising for their respective sports and the Department of Athletics, as well as specific direction that a family’s potential philanthropy should not influence the recruiting process for any particular student-athlete.”

UVa was not among the universities originally implicated in the federal investigation.

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