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January 26, 2006 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-26

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The Weekend

FT1dV

1,27.06

ICCA Competition
Amazin' Blue hosts the International
Championship of Collegiate A Capella.
The event will take place at Rackham
Graduate School Auditorium beginning
at 8:30. Tickets are $8 for students and
$12 for others.

sa1t urdy 1 )21.06
Ann Arbor Folk Festival
This year's festival will be the 29th an
al celebration of the folk and roots m
showcased at the Ark. The Ark hosts
event at Hill Auditorium beginning
p.m. on Saturday and 8 p.m. on Fri
Tickets for one night are $45.

ALI OLSEN/Daily

The Stephen M. Ross Academic Center was funded in part by a $5 million donation from Ross.

freshmen, to know they are somewhere
studying for that block of time.
"These are student athletes, a lot of
them tops in the nation," Acho said. "So
these are kids who maybe never had to
do it before sometimes. Now we're say-
ing, 'First semester, you have to make
this time.' By second semester, I sort of
loosen up a little bit."
After freshman year, there has always
been a little more freedom built into
the Academic Success Program. The
assumption is that, after a year, student
athletes have learned how to manage
their time. As long as they aren't strug-
gling academically, they are no longer
forced to attend any sort of tutoring or
study table. What "struggling" means is
up to the specific team - for football,
it's a GPA below a 2.3; for women's bas-
ketball, it's anything below a 3.0.
In order to stay eligible for NCAA
competition, athletes around the nation
must keep up with the academic stan-
dards set by their conference. The Big
Ten standards change based on how
many years a student athlete has been at
the school, but they are lowest after the
first semester - when just a 1.65 GPA is
required. At Michigan, athletes, like all
students, need to keep their GPA above a
2.0 or risk being put on academic proba-
tion or even being kicked out of school.
That's why, according to Acho,

Michigan has its own standards for the
athletes. Even though it tries to be flex-
ible and allow student athletes to plan
their own tutoring and study sessions -
especially non-freshman athletes - the
Academic Success Program is in place
to help make sure no one slips through
the cracks and gets forgotten.
"A lot of parents, they get scared,"
Acho said. "Michigan is considered like
an Ivy League school. How is this kid
from inner-city Detroit, how's he going
to handle it? And as a parent, you're
like, 'Oh my God, my kid could never
handle this. This scares me to death.'
Then when we go through all the sup-
port we're going to give the kid, it makes
it a little more palatable."
Joe knows

change. But what about cutting back
practice hours? What about less focus
on athletics?
Acho would call that unrealistic, but
it's all part of what Roberson dubs "the
athletic culture."
It's been many years since he was
athletic director at Michigan, and even
more since he played professional base-
ball and community college basket-
ball while trying to get an education.
But from Florida, where he spends his
retirement, Roberson talks emphatically
about the danger to the student athlete.
He's concerned because he was there
once. A superstar athlete in high school,
Roberson thought he could make it in
the world of professional sports. He
gave up an opportunity to play Division
I sports while getting an education to
sign with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"I thought certainly I was going to be
an All-Star, probably a Hall-of-Famer,"
Roberson said. "But at the end of three
and a half years, due to some small inju-
ries and the competitive nature of what I
was into, my career was over and I was
20 years old, and all I had left was the
rest of my life."
Luckily, Roberson had support from
his family and friends to get an edu-
cation on his own. Even while playing
baseball, he attended Flint Junior Col-
lege during the offseason. When his
career ended, he went back to college
and got a doctorate in education admin-
istration. He has always considered
himself an educator, one who looks out
for the best interests of the student ath-
lete, which is why he's scared about the
athletic culture.
Roberson is worried that the best inter-
est of the student athlete is being thrown
to the side all around the country in
order to field competitive programs and
make money, but his uneasiness about
academic support is two-fold. The first

is that everything the Academic Suc-
cess Program offers athletes - tutoring
help, computers, advising - is already
offered by the University on a broader
level. By paying tuition to the University
for all its student athletes, the athletic
department is already paying for these
services. The Academic Success Pro-
gram is just a duplication of those fees
and a waste of money, he says.
But Athletic Director Bill Martin
knows how to balance a budget if any-
one does. The $12-million surplus this
year is one of the biggest the athletic
department has ever had, and Michi-
gan's athletic department is the third
in the country in terms of total revenue
- behind Ohio State and Texas.
So maybe the $1 million a year that
the athletic department spends on aca-
demic support isn't such a bad thing. As
Associate Provost Phil Hanlon points
out, in some sense, it's good for the Uni-
versity that the entire student body is
benefiting from the extra money the ath-
letic department pays to the University.
Roberson's second and bigger objec-
tion to academic support - and more
specifically to the new academic center
- is that it further isolates the student
athlete from the rest of the student pop-
ulation, something Roberson sees as a
detriment to the education of both the
student athlete and the general student
population.
"The University went to the Supreme
Court arguing that diversity was a very
important component of education in
the affirmative action case," Roberson
points out. "How you can justify isolat-
ing a group of people who probably have
more in common than any ethnic group
- being athletes and being driven by
athletics - and claim the diversity issue
is being accomplished is beyond me."
Stephen M. Ross, who made the
construction of the building possible

with a $5-million donation less than a
year after donating $100 million to the
University's business school, argues that
studying is an individual thing. "They
still go to classes together, so I don't
think it isolates them," he said.
Hanlon, who oversees the Academic
Success Program from the provost's
office, said he would be very concerned
if he thought it isolated student athletes
from the rest of the population. But, like
Ross, he doesn't expect the academic
center to cause more isolation.
"That's never been the tradition at
Michigan," Hanlon said.
He's not worried, in part because
student athletes will still take the same
classes and in part because the center
will eventually be open to all students,
at least during certain hours. The cen-
ter does have classrooms available, and
even though they will eventually be
used for the occasional class, they will
be mostly for review sessions and group
study sessions.
Isolation of student athletes may not
seem like a big deal, but it's something
that the NCAA takes very seriously.
In October 2001, the NCAA made it a
requirement that universities integrate
athletes into the rest of the student body.
Institutions may not house student ath-
letes in athletics dormitories or even
athletic blocks within dorms, the rule
states.
"They need to be integrated into the
general college and university envi-
ronment as much as possible, with the
recognition that they have other respon-
sibilities," said NCAA spokesman Erik
Christianson.
When asked specifically about the
creation of academic centers designed
primarily for athletes, Christianson said
it was the NCAA's hope that universities
were making the best decisions to sup-
port all athletes.

D o I represent the entire interna-
tional student body in the Unit-
ed States or do I represent the
international student body of Univer-
sity? No. Though, I can say that I'm an
international student from South Korea
studying here. And you can say that the
life of an international student in Mich-
igan differs in some sense from that of a
domestic student. The things I'm going
to talk about may not be universal yet,
but I assume that I can give you some
insight into the life of an international
student at the University.
I came to United States in high
school so I did not have any trouble
with the language. I experienced some
difficulties when I came to the Univer-
sity last year. The first thing was class
registration during international orien-
tation. While I was registering, I had
a really hard time picking classes that
fit into my schedule. I was puzzled as
to why classes were pretty much closed
even before the registration. I was told
that domestic students registered before
international students. What?! This
is almost a form of racial discrimina-
tion and should not be accepted. We,
international student, pay much higher
tuition than any of the in-state students
and still have to suffer this unfairness?
Now, I just accept this situation, but I
was very furious when I first experi-
enced the disadvantage of being an
international student in Michigan.
For me, it is fun to live with people
from other countries. And I also enjoy

SHUBRA OHRI/Daily
LSA sophomore and Korean national Sang Do Lee has experienced many
difficulties as an international student at the University.
Crossing the ocean
International student
adjusts to University life.
By Sang Do Le

the different cultures from all around
world. The University is one of best
places to experience different cultures
since there are a number of interna-
tional students that go to school here.
Also, the United States is known for
mixing cultures. Although I enjoyed
Kwanzaa, MLK Day, etc. during my
years in the United States, I haven't
experienced any of the holidays in
South Korea since I started here. In my
family, all relatives are gathered during
holidays, and spend the day together.
For the most part, those holidays are
only days that I can see my relatives.
In other words, I don't have any chance
to meet my close relatives. In addition,
since my birthday is in middle of May,
I haven't celebrated my birthday with
my close friends and family for a long
time.
Everybody knows our winter
break is awfully short. And I believe
that nobody really likes the Univer-
sity's breaks.
Because of this, I believe that stu-
dents from distant nations will suffer
most.Because of the short winter break,
it's really hard to go back home over
break if one has final exams on the last
day of the exam period. Even though
students go back for two weeks, it is not
long enough to fly home and meet all of
your friends and hang around.
I pretty much talk about disad-
vantages of being an international
student because there are only a few
good things.

"Maple is the first piece of software I've ever seen tha
ematical graphs, functions and symbols the same wi
Never has it been so easy topfigure out where I made
Naftn soisaki c
I came into university lacking confidence in math,i
invaluable for checking my answers. Thanks,for ma
software and making math bearable.
-Nicholas Monahan, s

B

ut what if the answer for
the scared parent is not
more academic support
for student athletes, but
less time on the practice
field? That's the hereti-
cal idea of Joe Roberson,

Michigan's athletic director from 1994
to 1997, who thinks Michigan's priori-
ties are in the wrong place. He agrees
that the way athletics at the Division I
-level are structured right now needs to

Stay ahead of the class! Visit us at: www ma,
MaIIsof t
j 19a n9/ ;al' I 8 81 4 a .Ca

8B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 26, 2006

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