Tech President Wayne Clough Issues Statement Regarding Academic Reform Steps

While the academic accomplishments of student-athletes on average have steadily improved for the last four years, 11 student-athletes were recently declared academically ineligible. Of those, 10 were members of the football team. These players are required to sit out a term before returning to school.

This is not something that should happen at Georgia Tech, one of the leading research universities in the nation. I have always expected, and will continue to expect, that our coaches will work with academic support personnel in a coordinated fashion to ensure that student-athletes have the opportunity to meet the challenges of a Tech education and make steady progress toward graduation. I also expect our student-athletes to achieve at an academic level comparable to that of the average of the student body, including remaining on track for graduation.

That is why our academic support services are so important. They are important to the performance of our athletes and they are important for the ultimate mission of the Institute. Credible and competent academic support enhances the experience of our student-athletes and upholds the rigorous academic excellence of Georgia Tech.

Because of that unique dual role, Academic Support Services will continue to report to both the Athletic Director and the Office of the Provost. Such an arrangement makes sense. It ensures that those in daily contact with the student athletes are fully engaged in their academic progress. It also ensures that the academic side of the house has an active role in working with athletics to provide a balanced perspective. This is all about maximizing the potential of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the playing field. That is, after all, our primary mission.

We are also announcing today that Dr. Carole Moore, the Director of Academic Services for the Athletic Association, has elected to return to a full-time academic role at Georgia Tech. Dr. Moore will become a special assistant to the Vice Provost, where she will teach, further our international education efforts, and help to develop our elite scholar initiatives. She is currently a teacher in the Georgia Tech Oxford program.

Dr. Moore has significantly improved academic advising services in the Athletic Association during her tenure, as was evidenced by improved graduation rates, higher GPA's, and sustained academic progress for student-athletes. Georgia Tech owes Carole a large debt of gratitude for her long and dedicated service to the Institute and most recently for working hard on behalf of our student-athletes.

Col. James Stevens, who is retiring from the Air Force, will replace Dr. Moore. He is a 1975 Industrial Management graduate of Georgia Tech and holds two master's degrees in Management and Logistics. He has been the Professor of Aerospace Studies for the past three years, commanding the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 165 at Georgia Tech.

Col. Stevens was a former football and baseball standout for Tech in the early 1970s. He played quarterback under Bill Fulcher in 1972 and 1973 and was named the MVP of Georgia Tech's victory against Iowa State in the 1972 Liberty Bowl. He also played baseball for Coach Jim Luck in 1974. He is married to the former Dee Hudson and they have four children -- Chad, Dea, Joel and Renee. Col. Stevens has enjoyed an outstanding career in the Air Force and brings the type of academic and athletic credentials important to succeed in a demanding job like this.

As part of his duties, David and I have asked Col. Stevens to visit a number of universities well known for the academic success of their student-athletes to see what we might learn from their experience. There are a number of important academic changes on the horizon for student-athletes, and we want to ensure that we take advantage of best practices. He is keenly aware of our expectations and is ready to take a fresh approach to meeting them. I'm confident that the excellent foundation provided by Dr. Moore and the new perspectives brought by Col. Stevens will yield positive results in the future.

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