Page 2-Thursday, April 15, 1982-The Michigan Daily
A tender issue
By ANDREW CHAPMAN
It's not uncommon for prospective student athletes
to sign agreements to play with the Wolverines before.
their high school transcripts ever arrive in the
University admissions office.
The practice, while fairly standard, has raised
questions about the propriety of considering athletes
as athletes first, and students second.
And enough of these same questions were asked
last year by faculty members so that University
President Harold Shapiro agreed to direct the
athletic department to stop signing athletes before
they are actually admitted.
IN THE 1981-82 recruiting season, 10 of 26 Michigan
freshmen football recruits were offered letters of in-
tent before their transcripts arrived for review.
Despite that high figure, the number of "early
commitments" this year was considerable lower
than in past years, according to faculty members
familiar with the athletic admissions process.
Even tihough a letter of intent - or "tender" -
specifically states that a scholarship can't be paid un-
til an athlete actually is admitted to the school,
college officials find it dificult to break the promise
implied by the tender-especially considering the
amount of publicity generated by an athlete's
decision to attend one university or another.
RECRUITMENT of "blue-chip" high school
athletes is followed intensely by the media, hence, the
heavy publicity given an acclaimed athlete who signs
a tender to attend a major university. National letter
of intent day-the official day when high school
athletes may sign their tenders - is an actual event
has been th
by some fac
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This public attention, say University officials, puts
a tremendous amount of pressure on schools to follow
through on the agreement and actualy admit the
athlete, regardless of the athlete's academic record.
But University Admissions Director Cliff Sjogren
disagrees, adding there is no direct "pressure" on the
admissions office to admit students in such cases.
IN EXPLAINING, Sjogren said, "there is no way
Schembechler can move me out of my job. My job is
going to be perserved."
"Every tender is contingent on the student
achieving a satisfactory academic record," Sjorgen
"We can tender a student, and admit him and give
him a housing contract, and send him to orientation,
but if in June he shows a declining record, we can
cancel out on him. We have no obligation," he added.
Last year, one high school athlete was given a ten-.
der and then denied admission to the University
because of his grades, according to Sjogren.
The University then had quickly to find another
school that would admit this student, according to an
administrator who wished to remain anonymous.
Sjogren said that he had no idea how that other
university admitted the student given his academic
FORMALLY, the University is not required to ad-
mit students solely because they have been offered
scholarships and signed tenders. But practically, of-
ficials admit, the issue still presents a problem.
The problem, according to John Weistart, a sports
law expert at Duke University, is whether a tender
can be considered an actual contract between an
athlete and a university.
Generally, Weistart said, universities try to avoid
entering contractual agreements with athletes
because the schools become financially liable for the
students under such circumstances.
AS LONG as the tender stipulates that financial aid
is contingent on admission - and it does - there is no
immediate legal threat, said Weistart.
He added, however, that because intercollegiate
athletics are becoming increasingly competitive, the
situation regarding tenders could get explosive.
"In my own view," Weistart said, "this letter of in-
tent issue may get dangerous."
AT THE University, the problem was serious
enough to create a conflict last fall between the
faculty representative to the Big Ten Conference,
University President Harold Shapiro, and athletic
According to reports, the athletic department was
forcing admissions officials to admit athletes by
signing large numbers of them before transcripts
were available to the admissions office..
Political Science Prof. Thomas Anton, the faculty
representative, threatened to resign his post on the
Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics over the
Shapiro then wrote a letter to athletic department
officials, asking that they stop granting tenders to
high school athletes without their transcripts first
having arrived in the admissions office.
Said football coach -Bo Schembechler: 'We're
trying to live up to the Shapiro letter."
Compiled from Associated Press and
United Press international reports
Arabs protest mosque attack
Millions of Moslems throughout the world staged a general strike yesterday
to protest the attack on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, one of Islam's
Air and rail traffic was disrupted in several Mideast countries and major
banking centers were closed. But the flow of oil was unaffected, despite a
call by Iran to "unsheath the oil weapon" against Israel.
Diplomatic missions of some 40 Moslem nations closed their doors in
Washington, Vienna and other European and African capitals in a show of
solidarity with the Palestinians.
Prison fire kills seven
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -Seven trapped prisoners died "huddled in a cor-
ner" early yesterday when fire swept through their eighth-floor holding cell
at the overcrowded Hudson County Jail.
Two inmates told a lawyer later that they heard guards shouting,
"Where's the key. Where's the key," after the blaze erupted about 5 a.m.
Some witnesses said the blaze was started by an inmate whodeliberately
set fire to a highly flammable foam mattress.
The jail, which has a capacity of 280 inmates, housed more than 500
yesterday, according to Howard Moskowitz, an attorney with the American
Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey.
Moskowitz, who has filed a lawsuit claiming the jail's facilities are
inadequate, said the cell where the fire broke out was used to house
prisoners with psychiatric problems.
Judge dismisses bellboy's,
conviction for hotel fire
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -A judge dismissed for lack of evidence yesterday
the arson-murder conviction, of a hotel busboy found guilty of setting the
December 1980 Stouffer's Inn fire that killed 26 people.
"I love America," busboy Luis Marin exclaimed as he walked, a free man
out of the courthouse. "I feel good. I'm happy.
Judge Lawrence Martin, in setting aside the jury verdict on the request of
the defense, said, "the evidence is insufficient."
But District Attoryney Carl Vergari called Martin's action "a gross per-
version of the judicial process" and "the greatest abuse of judicial power I
have seen in my 34 years as a prosecutor." He said his office would appeal,a,
procedure expected to take about three months.
Marin, a native of Guatamala, was convicted of arson and felony murder
Saturday night by a jury of nine men and three women after six days of
deliberations. He could have been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Polish government attacks
WARSAW, - The martial-law government's newspapers assailed the un-
derground broadcasters of "Radio Solidarity" yesterday as "troubadours of
confrontation." The papers accused the United States of supporting the
Radio Solidarity debuted Monday-night with an 8%-minute broadcast ac-
cusing the state media of covering up poor detention conditions for thousan-
ds of interned Solidarity activists, and urging Poles to demonstrate their op-
postion to martial law.
It was the first such clandestine broadcast since Police leader Gen.
Wojciech Jarezelski declared martial law last Dec. 13 and suspended
Solidarity, the independent labor union that was challenging the Communist
Party's monopoly on power.
The radio called on Poles to black out their homes for 15 minutes Tuesday
night as a protest against martial law. But only scattered households ap-
peared to do so, although many put candles in their windows, another sym-
bol of oppostion.
rm issions:, A game of compromises
ontinued from Page 1)
' philosophyson admissions.
he object of sharp criticism
ulty members. B-
ION Prof. Loren Barritt,
spoken critic of the athletic
t, responded: "The athletic
t is not running a program
o director Sjogren said,
;at his office makes excep-
me students with low grade
ges and low test scores. In
ler's case, Sjogren said he is
hake even more exceptions.
g to Sjogren, Schembechler
because he makes promises
ent athletes which make it
hem to survive the academic
IBECHLER says to his
I'll give you four years of
and we'll go easy with you
ar. We'll give you a reduced
some extra money so you
ve to work, and we'll even
aeone to help you with study
u're going to get a degree
University of Michigan,'"
see anything wrong with
only thing that bothers me
s that I wish we could do this
he kids, not just football
issions director justifies ac-
idents with low test scores.
scores do not tell us not to
udent," Sjogren said. While
ores usually are a strong in-
tudents with high intelligen-
d, low test scores can be ex-
y more factors than in-
MITTED, however, that
ith low test scores were con-
high test sc
dicator of s
ce, he note
sidered "high risks," with the
possibility that they may not graduate.
Sjogren said the risks diminish with the
academic support the athletic depar-
tment provides its charges.
Of the 400 to 500 athletes at the
University, approximately 25 percent
of them receive tutorial assistance,
paid for by the M-Club, a group of let-
tered University athletes who donate
money to the athletic department and
its tutorial system, said George Hoey,
an academic counselor in the athletic
Many student athletes considered
"high risk" are admitted to the School
of Education-specifically to that
school's physicial education, depar-
TWENTY OF the 24 football players
listed on last year's freshmen roster
were enrolled in the physical education
The most apparent reason seems to
be that the department has the lowest
admissions standards on campus,
allowing freshperson applicants to en-
ter the program with a minimum high
school grade point average of 2.0. SAT
scores 'are not necessary for admittan-
ce to the school or program.
Hoey said the large number of
athletes who enrolled in the physical
education program this year is purely
PROF. BARRITT, meanwhile, con-
ceded the possibility that athletes were
being funneled into the physical
education department because of its
Apparently, others in the education
school have the same concerns. Accor-
ding to minutes from the executive
committee of last Sept. 22, the school's
governing board discussed the
possibility of raising admissions stan-
dards in the physical education depar-
QUESTIONS asked during the
meeting included the following:
" "Should the School of Education
assent to making exceptions in ad-
missions standards for athletes?"
" Under the present situation, when
athletes do not meet admission
requirements for their unit (school) of
School of Medicine
-English speaking American
-2 years basic science on
Island of Dominica
-2 years clinical rotation in
-English speaking American
-taught by English
Summer and Fail-1982
first choice, are they referred to the
School of Education?
Barritt, who specializes in
educational psychology, said the com-
mittee discussed the questions and
decided to retain the present ad-
Education School Dean Joan Stark
was hesitant to admit that discussion of
admissions procedure had even taken
place. "We don't admit athletes, we
admit students," Stark said. She said
she places absolute trust in the ad-
missions office, which administers en-
trance policies established by the
school and its departments.
The individual at the center of the
physical education controversy is Dee
Edington, who is chairman of the
The low grades and test scores of
athletes admitted to his program don't
bother Edington. "To say that someone
is not eligible for admission because
they have low SAT scores is crazy," he
ADMISSIONS policies would be un-
fair to many disadvantaged students
across the state if they used only test
scores and high school grades,
Of the 350 undergraduates in the
physical education department,
Edington estimates that 70 to 80 of them
are involved in intercollegiate
The physical education department
also is the only program in the School of
Education that admits students as
freshpersons. In other departments,
students wait until their junior year be
fore they can be considered for ad-
mission to the school.
STARK SAID she too advocates not
admitting physical education students
until their junior year.
Edington pointed out that it shouldn't
be surprising if large numbers of
athletes are drawn to the physical
education department of a university,
just as violinists are drawn to the music
Other officials concurred.
Says Canham: "Intercollegiate'
athletics is not for the masses, just as
the symphony orchestra isn't. The out-
standing musician plays in the sym-
phony orchestra. The outstanding
athlete plays in intercollegiate
This article is the second in a
four-part series. Tomorrow's in-
vestigation will cover the operations
of the University's athletic depar-
(Continued from Page U
"IF THEY think the program is
threatened, they want to get it started
as soon as possible before it's cut off,"
said a Senate source familiar with the
proposal, who did not want his name
It was not known how much - if any
- of the money would be for productin
and stockpiling of the neutron warhead,
a high radiation weapon designed to kill
people without causing massive
damage to surrounding buildings.
yol. XCII, No. 155
Thursday, April 15, 1982
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