Several days ago, The Daily Californian published a letter from Ralph Shaffer concerning the transfer admission of a student athlete. The author asserts that athletes may be admitted to Cal in questionable and inappropriate ways and charges specifically that the student in question had been admitted in just such a way. Ironically, that letter was brought to our attention at the very meeting at which the application of the student athlete in question was to be considered.
Contrary to the assertions in Shaffer’s letter, the process by which student athletes are considered at a coach’s request involves more scrutiny than the process by which students in the general applicant pool are admitted. The process is much more transparent than is commonly assumed. All the policies regarding admissions and the admissions process are public documents, approved by the Academic Senate, and that includes the specifically articulated policy on athletic admissions. Those policies are followed scrupulously.
One popular misconception is that admission to Berkeley is offered solely on the basis of academic success. That is simply misguided. You have to show leadership, drive and commitment. To find this out, applicant files are read, on average, as a whole at least twice. Since student athletes come with those extra qualities, our policy requires that extra scrutiny be given to the applications of student athletes recommended for admission by coaches to assure that they meet the academic standards necessary to succeed at Cal. To that end, our admissions policy establishes a Student Athlete Admissions Committee, consisting mainly of tenured faculty, including a dean. Anyone who thinks that the Student Athlete Admissions Committee does anything at the coaches’ bidding need only ask the coaches to find out that nothing could be farther from the truth.
We know that there are some who question the value of intercollegiate athletics, but that is a different conversation. What has been done in the case in question is according to policy and quite different from the way Mr. Shaffer has characterized it.
— Anne M. De Luca, Associate vice chancellor of admissions and enrollment
Richard A. Rhodes, Professor of linguistics and incoming chair of the Admissions, Enrollment & Preparatory Education Committee