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Our recent differences with the ACC go far beyond the matter of grade eligibility for athletes. That just became the major focal point. We are now an independent and very pleased to be a member-at-large of the NCAA. We are not bitter toward the ACC—we are simply no longer a member.
What we have done is to place ourselves on the same NCAA standards for awarding grants-in-aid as the overwhelming majority of institutions in the U.S. We have not lowered the academic standards of our fine institution in any way, and at no time have we expressed interest in lowering them. Surely, you must realize that more than 400 colleges and universities use the National Collegiate Athletic Association's tables for the granting of athletic grants-in-aid. As far as I know, the ACC is the only conference in the country that uses a minimum College Board score for scholarship.
The NCAA tables have been devised by college administrators and professors from a vast cross section of the U.S. to pied ct, on the basis of high school records, whether an athlete will achieve at least a 1.6 grade-point average as a college freshman. Here at South Carolina, however, he will have to maintain a 2.0 to stay in school. It is also interesting to note that of the 37 young freshmen to whom we have awarded grants-in-aid for the year 1971-72, all but four were completely qualified according to ACC standards. All 37 were qualified for entrance and for a scholarship according to the NCAA tables. South Carolina will continue to use the NCAA tables.
We have wonderful people here in South Carolina, and they are justly proud of their university. But they have been very disturbed to see their native sons continue to go to the Big Ten and other equally prominent schools using NCAA eligibility standards because they could not enter their own state university under the ACC entrance requirements. Herein lies the crux of the problem we faced as a member of the ACC. It is true, unfortunately, that some young men cannot qualify academically for any school. But if they can qualify for a scholarship to the overwhelming majority of institutions in America, why should they be denied admission to their own state school?
The citizens of South Carolina do not deserve the treatment they have received from you. And regardless of the thoughts expressed in your articles, my efforts and desires have been and always will be for the betterment of college athletics.
SONNY STRIKES OUT
Ask the young Canadian football fans in Winnipeg and they can tell you who Indian Jack Jacobs was even though he played 10 years before they were born.