Academic Integrity in Intercollegiate Athletics: Principles, Rules, and Best Practices
VOTING DRAFT - 24 February 2005
as endorsed by the members of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics present at the
Vanderbilt COIA Conference, January 6-7, 2005, and amended by the full Coalition membership on February 22
Link By Sections:
The unique value of intercollegiate athletics lies in its potential to enhance education through engagement in sports. It can contribute to the personal development of athletes, it can form a focus of campus community for other students, and it can create bonds of shared loyalties to educational institutions among students, alumni, faculty, and broader communities. However, a century's experience has taught us that athletics can also compete with the educational missions of schools in ways that may negate this positive potential and undermine higher education. This document addresses a particular range of problems in this regard: practices connected with intercollegiate athletics that may weaken the academic integrity at the core of colleges and universities.
Most university faculty members in America are fans of college sports, but they are also stewards of academic integrity. A primary goal of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics is to find ways in which faculty can strengthen the basis of intercollegiate athletics by identifying and addressing problems that may have brought athletics into conflict with the values of the schools that engage in it, and help college sports fulfill its positive potential. Given their university role, this is a responsibility faculty members must fulfill, and because so many aspects of these questions involve the interrelatedness of schools that compete in sports and the need to ensure that we all compete on a fair basis, it makes sense for faculty to try to approach these issues both nationally, through a coalition, and individually at their own schools.
The version of the document posted here, revised from an earlier draft posted in September, is the product of lengthy discussion, first among Coalition members and many others via email for a period of four months, and then among representatives of twenty-six member senates and faculty observers from several others at the January 2005 COIA meeting at Vanderbilt. Representatives at that meeting voted to endorse the document for final review and email comment by the full membership, with a final vote on adoption scheduled for late February. Minor amendments to Section 1.2 and 3.1 were adopted by amail vote of the Coalition on February 22.
Although this document includes eighty separate proposals, less than a tenth of these are suggested as "rules" that should apply to all schools (NCAA bylaws). The great majority are intended as "best practice" guidelines -- policies that have worked well in practice at some schools or, in some cases, new ideas that are shared because they promise to address difficult problems that have resisted solution. The goal is not to prescribe what schools must do, but to suggest issues that schools need to consider and approaches that may with adaptation fit local needs and strengthen the way athletics supports the educational mission. Because COIA represents only NCAA Division IA schools, this document is directed only at the issues of those schools.
The initial draft of this document was developed over the period of March-August, 2004, by members of the COIA Steering Committee, in consultation with members of the leaderships of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (the N4A) and the Drake Group. These colleagues provided months of valuable guidance based on their expertise and experience, and COIA is in their debt. It should be made clear that neither the N4A nor the Drake Group leaderships have endorsed all the ideas in the current draft, but their contributions as advisors have added a great deal. COIA is also in debt to Scott Kretchmar, Faculty Athletics Representative at Pennsylvania State University, who was also a member of the drafting group, and whose work on best practices for offices of academic advising for athletes formed our starting point for Section 5.