Michigan football players have found a new path to academic success. In 2003, a year after changes to the sport management major were approved, general studies surpassed sport management as the most common academic path for Wolverine players.
Day two of a four-part series by the Ann Arbor News revealed that general studies was the chosen academic path for 38 of the football team's recruited scholarship players in 2004. General studies is a relatively unstructured degree program that has no foreign language requirement and allows students to take classes in a broad range of disciplines.
Athletes often find their way into general studies through the kinesiology division. Sixty slots — or roughly half an incoming freshman class in kinesiology — are reserved for athletes, several faculty members said. If a student has a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average or higher after two semesters, they can transfer into the general studies degree program.
Jay Basten, who has taught in the kinesiology division since 1999, was asked if Michigan could offer its student-athletes an academic experience similar to that of a typical student and still compete at the highest levels athletically.
"No," he said.