Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lowering the Bar at T. Boone U.

More developments at Oklahoma State, home of college football's biggest booster, T. Boone Pickens.

A dramatic increase in the number of alternative admissions given to student-athletics at the university has caught the attention of officials.

Oklahoma State's alternative admissions program "allows a certain percentage (currently 8%) of each new freshman class to attend OSU without meeting all the regular admissions requirements, but who meet minimum criteria and show potential for success," according to the university's website.

In 2001-02, athletics accounted for 6.7% of all students enrolled through alternative means. This year, 11.2% of Oklahoma State's alternative admissions were student-athletes, according to university data provided to the Daily O'Collegian.

Although there is no written policy limiting the number of alternative admissions, former president James Halligan decided to keep alternative admissions athletes at about 9%.

"By lowering admissions standards, you enlarge your recruiting pool and have a chance to bring in more skilled players, which in turn generates wins and generates revenues for a team and a school," said Robert Brown, a Cal State San Marcos professor and expert on the economics of college athletes.

Oklahoma State is not alone in lowering the bar. A 2006 study by the Knight Commission revealed that at the University of Georgia, 21 of 119 student-athletes admitted through alternative means for the 1999-2000 academic year had failed out of college or been kicked out within two years.

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