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U.Va. plans internal review of academic integrity in athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) The University of Virginia plans to conduct an internal review of academic integrity in its athletics programs to ensure that student-athletes are receiving an education that meets the school’s standards.

U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan has commissioned a Task Force on Academic Integrity in Athletics, chaired by law professor Alex Johnson, to conduct the review. The task force will examine practices and procedures regarding mentoring and advising student-athletes, along with student-athletes’ enrollment in courses and evaluations, the university said last week in a news release announcing the review.

“I believe that we have a good system in place for ensuring academic integrity in athletics, yet even good systems experience failures in implementation,” Sullivan said in the release. “The task force is charged with examining our system for such issues and, if appropriate, making recommendations for change.”

Johnson said the task force is not looking for any specific behavior.

“We’re just looking to make sure student athletes are getting the education they were promised when they accepted their scholarships — and basically to ensure they’re not being treated any differently from anyone else,” he told The Daily Progress.

The review comes in the wake of a cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A report released on Oct. 22, 2014, by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Washington described a pattern of fake classes, which allowed 3,100 athletes and other students to earn artificially high grades from 1993 to 2011.

“I hope it’s different in terms of what we’re delivering,” Johnson said. “But there’s pressure in athletics to get the best athletes; sometimes those athletes are not qualified to enroll at a university.”

“UNC wasn’t the first school that recognized they had a problem and I don’t think they’ll be the last school,” he said.

The seven-member task force includes faculty and staff members and a student-athlete. It is expected to have a report by June 30.

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