North Carolina released a strategic plan to guide its athletics department over the next four years. The plan is a little light on specifics, but here are the goals for the UNC athletics department:
- Alignment: “Align our operations to fulfill the mission of the university.”
- Academic Achievement: to be top-three in the conference and top-10 nationally in each sport in the classroom.
- Athletic Performance: to be top-three in the conference and top-10 nationally in each sport on the field.
- Administrative engagement: “Engage internal and external constituents to relentlessly pursue the resources and administrative structures necessary for success.”
That is an ambitious plan to achieve top 10 graduation rates and/or APR scores over the next four years in every single one of Carolina’s 28 sports, while at the same time achieving top 10 finishes on the field in each of those sports. In an interview UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham talked about those academic goals and how they mesh with admissions:
it’s not going to be significantly different than it’s been in the past – that we meet the NCAA standards. The challenge that we have, that Stanford has, that Duke has, that Notre Dame has is that you have a student body that has these incredible qualifications and you have some students that aren’t there, so how do you make sure that they get a great education? That becomes the challenge that we all have. But I don’t really think it’s going to come down to an admissions question.
If that is the case, then the comments of Holden Thorp, the outgoing chancellor of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus, about increased admissions standards for athletes look more tied to the NCAA’s increase than anything else. Or that increase will not be tied to any sort of floor or other standard, but maybe more evaluation of some athletes as they enroll at UNC, with the aim being to come up with more tailored plans for academic assistance.