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A. Resolution Endorsing the Goals and Principles of the COIA Proposals on Reforms in Intercollegiate Athletics (D 6001-6004).

Chair Elect David Hillis reminded Council members that they had received an emailed copy of Framing the Future: Reforming Intercollegiate Athletics, which is a report on the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) of which UT is a member. If members cannot find their copies, Chair Elect Hillis noted that the document was posted on the Faculty Council web site or could be found via a Google search of the web. He said the resolution being proposed does not seek to implement any of the specific proposals in the report here at UT Austin; it only asks that we endorse the goals and principles of the report, which Chair Elect Hillis said he thought were similar to those of our University as discussed earlier in today’s Council meeting.

Chair Elect Hillis summarized what the report included regarding goals and principles as follows:
1. From page 3, section entitled, “Overview”
“...the primary goal of the COIA is to ensure that college sports are fully integrated within the academic goals, values, and missions of our universities and colleges.”

2. From page 4, section entitled, “What can faculty do to strengthen academic integrity within our athletics’ programs?”
“…faculty is the steward of the academic integrity on our campuses. Faculty members are specifically responsible for developing and holding academic standards, maintaining intellectual rigor, monitoring student performance, providing career opportunities, and facilitating personal growth. The faculty adheres to two fundamental principles, that all students are treated fairly and equally, and that all students are provided with opportunities to succeed academically. Given these principles, it is imperative that faculty not only be concerned about athletics reform, but in fact take the lead in developing and implementing reform initiatives and solutions.”

3. From page 6, section entitled, “Where do we go from here?”
“Through the reforms proposed here, the long-term goal of this paper is to ensure that athletics remain fully integrated into the academic mission of our universities. This goal will be achieved only if the faculty takes a leadership role in acknowledging the need for reform, getting stakeholders to work together, identifying specific problems, and developing real world functional solutions. Success of these proposals is dependent on faculty leaders and their campus faculty senate or equivalent strongly championing these reforms with the local, conference, and national levels.”

4. From page 6, section entitled, “Principles underlying the proposed reforms”
“Intercollegiate athletics must be in alignment with the educational mission of the institution.”


Chair Elect Hillis said the proposed legislation was trying to champion these reform measures, but the reforms would need to be done at the national level. He said it would be difficult to implement any of the reforms unilaterally at a given campus because that would adversely impact the institution’s ability to successfully compete in intercollegiate sports. The goal is to make the reforms more rigorous at the national level and to encourage all programs “to follow the rules,” as Coach Brown said UT Austin would do.

Chair Elect Hillis explained that the resolution he had drafted was patterned on a similar resolution that was passed by the University of Michigan’s Senate Assembly, and he thought it was a good idea for major universities, such as Michigan and Texas, to show their support for these important principles and goals for athletics programs. He said the proposed motion, which will be an action item at the February Council meeting says, “Whereas the Faculty Council at The University of Texas at Austin finds that proposals of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics are generally in accord with the values of The University of Texas, and hereby endorses the goals and principles of these proposals.”

Professor Janet Staiger (radio-television-film and women’s and gender studies) asked Chair Elect Hillis to specify before the February meeting which of the items listed in the attachment would be a change from UT Austin’s current practices. She said she would need to know how much of a change our athletics program would be required to make if this proposed motion passed. Chair Elect Hillis said he was not an expert on each of the specific items and how well UT Austin already was in compliance. He said UT Austin does not have separate degree programs geared to the needs and interests of student athletes, which the proposal says should not exist. He said he thought the University complied with many of the reforms, but the intent of his motion was to endorse the goals and principles of the report and support work at the national level on the reforms; it was not implementation of any specific reforms here at UT Austin. He said he thought Professor Staiger’s request was going beyond the current resolution’s intent.

Professor Mary Steinhardt said she agreed with Professor Staiger and thought this was an opportunity to get input from the athletics personnel regarding which of the specific reforms they could support and which they could not. Chair Elect Hillis said there had been a meeting with athletics regarding the resolution, and he thought there was general support for the goals and principles of the COIA report, which was the intent of the motion. He said some of the specific reforms could be problematic, but he did not think there was concern about the general goals and principles.