June 23, 1982


The Athletics Committee had an active year, confronting some old and new problems. Among the former that returned to haunt the committee was the desire of many faculty members to buy season basketball tickets. Unfortunately, Stokely Athletics Center holds fewer than 13,000 fans, and almost all those seats are already committed to students and present season-ticket holders. According to Gus Manning, Assistant Athletics Director, there is no point even in preparing a waiting list because so few tickets become available.

The committee devoted somewhat more attention to the matter of funding the women's athletics programs. We invited SGA President Ed Ingle, Women's Athletics Director Gloria Ray, and Vice Chancellor Howard Aldmon to discuss the raise in student activity fees, most of which will help fund the women's programs. Ray and Aldmon said such an increase was the only feasible source of revenue to bring UTK into compliance with Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Even with the increase, Aldmon said, the total amount paid by students for supporting the combined men's and women's athletics programs is no more than at most other large institutions. In reply to Ingle's charge that most students are apathetic about women's sports, Aldmon said that students support through their fees a variety of other programs that many find uninteresting--e.g., campus theaters. Ray discussed the recent switchover in affiliation from the AIAW to NCAA and maintained it was desirable in almost every respect, especially in terms of funding and recruiting.

The committee also met with Alan Beals, the Academic Counselor for the men's athletics department, and discussed many of the academic problems confronting athletes at UTK. The committee was impressed by Beals' desire to set up a more systematic advising program and by his determination to encourage all athletes to work toward graduation. We plan to establish an informal subcommittee that will serve as an ongoing academic liaison between Beals and the Athletics Committee.

Recognizing a major concern of many at UTK, the committee asked the Office of Institutional Research to conduct an investigation into the academic achievement of athletes on campus, The Office responded promptly and affirmatively, and Suzanne W. Larsen finished the report in May, A copy will be distributed to each member of the Faculty Senate at the July 12 meeting.

Larsen's investigation is the fourth such study conducted at UTK during the past ten years and the first since 1978. It is more sophisticated and than the previous studies and is directed toward a series of specific questions posed by the Athletics Committee. It is also the first such report to include information on the academic achievement of female athletes at UTK. The report requires careful study, but a few points can be made here: 1) the composite ACT scores of freshmen male athletes have shown a more significant decline in the last few years than those of other entering male students; 2) some differences were found in the ways athletes and non-athletes use summer schools, mini-terms, and correspondence courses; 3) the average GPA of male athletes was lower in every college than that of other male undergraduates; and, 4) perhaps surprisingly, male athletes over the last decade have a slightly higher rate of graduation than other male students. Overall, student-athletes at UTK, male and especially female, compare favorably with the rest of the student body in terms of academic performance. The Athletics Committee recommends that all interested faculty carefully review this study, and we hope that similar investigations will be conducted every few years.

Respectfully submitted,

John Finger, chair
For the Athletics Committee

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