Equal Shares

By Staff

Athletic Management, 17.5, August/September 2005, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/am/am1705/wuequalshares.htm

This summer, the athletic department at the University of California-San Diego, found itself caught between competing interests. Upper-level administrators at the NCAA Division II school were asking for the implementation of athletic scholarships for the first time in the school’s history, in part to meet a new NCAA rule that requires all Division II schools to offer at least $250,000 in scholarships. Some members of the faculty, however, were set on never allowing the former Division III school to award athletic-based scholarships.

In response, the school came up with a unique proposal: award the same amount of money to each athlete and require them to meet a sliding scale GPA minimum to retain their scholarship. If the proposal is approved, freshmen and sophomores will need to earn a 2.5, juniors, a 2.6, and seniors, a 2.7. Each athlete will initially receive a $500 scholarship, paid for by the university, and the athletic department will be allowed to fundraise in order to offer larger scholarships in the future.

The Faculty Senate is expected to vote on the proposal this fall, and in the meantime, Athletic Director Earl W. Edwards is working on “educating the faculty to dispel misconceptions” that offering scholarships will weaken the school’s academic mission and pave the way to moving to Division I. This effort has involved the production of a 10-minute video titled “Real Students, Real Athletes, Real Success” about the role of athletics in campus life, student-athletes as leaders and role models, and how participating in athletics provides UCSD graduates with precisely the qualities employers are looking for. Throughout the video, connections are made between UCSD’s academic success and its athletic success.