How good is the academic support at Michigan and does it benefit everybody?
There is some rumbling about another topic that I have not seen discussed on the boards.
Some of the higher ups (Phil Hanlon, the Provost, even some of the coaches) have started to ask questions about the way the Athletic Department does academic support. This is not a response to the Ann Arbor News hit piece, but a completely different set of issues.
The bottom line is that Shari Acho and the staffs over at the Academic Success Program (ASP) are very good at keeping kids eligible, and at being (somewhat inappropriately) their friends. Nevertheless, they seem to think that their responsibilities end if an athlete likes them and achieves a 2.0 GPA.
Some important people at the school think they should be working to develop the whole person, and spending at least a little time helping 2.5 GPA kids get to 3.0, or 3.3 kids get to 3.5. They also want to see a much better life skills program for example, on basic life skills things like basic finance, keeping out of trouble, setting life goals, etc.-- Going way beyond academic eligibility.
The problem is that 90% of the ASP efforts focused on football, basketball, and hockey, with the goal of merely achieving 2.0 GPA. Beyond that, there is little sense of accountability, interventions beyond grades.
Coach Beilein and Coach Rod are both big on demanding accountability from their athletes, not just to do the minimum, but to strive for excellence. Both are frustrated with the ASP because they do not demand the same concerning academics. Look for some changes over the next six to twelve months. It is unlikely that Acho and Shand will get thrown under the bus. But there is a high likelihood of three things:
1) That someone will be put in place over Acho and Shand--someone who will be an authority figure who the athletes are afraid to disappoint, and who tracks and analyzes things. This would not another cheerleader, but rather the academic headmaster.
2) There will be a big push toward mentoring/developing the whole person. Eligibility will be important, but only one aspect of the program. BTW, parents love this approach.
3) Some new lines of reporting between ASP and (ultimately) the Provost's office. Right now, almost everything is reactive. It goes thru Mike Stevenson, Martin, and Percy Bates (the Faculty Athletics Rep).
The University wants to get out ahead of some of these issues (classes oversubscribed with athletes, eligibility, etc.). Some thinking is going on now about how best to do this.
Items 1 and 2 are likely to be announced publicly at some point. Item 3 is not, but is a crucial complement to item 1.
written by ErocWolverine
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