If you're playing football at Michigan, chances are you're a general studies major. Of 18 recruited scholarship players in the 2004 freshman class who remained at Michigan long enough to decide on a degree program, 17 were in general studies.
Day three of a four-part series by the Ann Arbor News also revealed that of the 74 recruited scholarship players on the 2004 team, 58 pursued an academic course of general studies.
Finding a program like general studies among schools Michigan cites in a variety of comparisons is not easy. A similar discipline is offered at Indiana and 13 players were in the program — far less than the 34 players currently enrolled in general studies at Michigan.
"Look, if you're asking me is it a little more difficult to maintain academic progress as a biology student, or as a general studies student, what do you think the answer is?" says John Bruno, Ohio State's faculty representative to the NCAA.
But other schools have clusters of athletes in pursuit of a single type of degree. At Northwestern, 32 players are majoring in communication studies. At Iowa, 30 players are majoring in the department of health and sport studies.
Reaction and related stories to the series:
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Isn't it right to expect more from a university that tied with UCLA for 25th nationally in U.S. News & World Report's '08 rankings?
Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune: Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman declined to be interviewed in person or on the phone for the series, but offered to answer questions by email. The paper said no and "came off as churlish by insisting on setting the rules for how she was allowed to comment."
Detroit Free Press: Charles Woodson, who helped the Wolverines to the national championship in 1997, has donated $150,000 to create two scholarships at Michigan. One scholarship is for an incoming freshman in the kinesiology department and the other is university-wide in honor of Woodson's mother, Georgia.