Nine months after coming together to address poor classroom performance and graduation rates by the football and men’s basketball teams, Cal’s Task Force on Academics and Athletics has submitted a working draft of its report to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.
Michael Williams, Cal’s interim athletic director and a member of the 18-person task force, confirmed that Dirks was spending his weekend reviewing the recommendations and that a final version of the report should be made public this week.
Williams said he isn’t sure which recommendations Dirks will accept, but said the report is more of a “strategic document” than a study of the recent past.
“It’s much more about where will we be 10 years from now than where we’ve been,” he said.
The panel’s theme focuses on “reintegrating student-athletes to the campus, making sure we have a more inclusive culture with the faculty and undergrads who are not student-athletes,” Williams said.
The task force, headed by anthropology professor and Cal grad Meg Conkey, included faculty, staff, alums and current students and came together after Cal’s football Academic Progress Rate scores in September 2013 ranked last in the Pac-12 and fifth-worst among schools from the five power conferences.
The football program’s 2013 graduation success rate, for students who entered school in the fall of 2006, was just 44 percent.
Dirks asked his task force for “bold” solutions, and Williams said the group devoted “literally thousands” of hours to exploring the issues. They spoke with campus CEOs, athletic directors and admissions officers at other universities, as well as staff, faculty and both current and past students at Cal.
“We focused on campus climate, what it means to be an undergraduate in the 21st century,” Williams said. “We tried to look at things in a thoughtful way for the betterment of our student-athletes.”