FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) – Colorado State University is developing a new system to accept prospective student athletes and musicians with low grades or test scores if they have “exceptional talent.”

CSU President Tony Frank decided to form a three-member panel to evaluate such students following a dispute this summer over eight prospective student athletes who were denied admission because of their academic qualifications. Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk appealed to Frank, who admitted the students.

“There are lot of things a student can bring to a university that can’t be measured on a numerical scale,” said Christine Susemihl, CSU’s senior associate athletic director for internal operations.

“Kids are more than just their test score, just their GPA. But on the other hand, we don’t want to dilute the standards of the university, and we don’t want to bring in kids who don’t have a chance to be successful academically,” she said.

Previously, any student meeting a minimum numerical score would be admitted. Activities such as sports, band or volunteering counted toward that point total.

Students admitted by the panel under the new system would fill an empty seat, not take the spot of a more academically qualified student, the Coloradoan reported. Provost Rick Miranda will track how those students do and report back to Frank annually.

Frank said students covered by the new process would still have to be NCAA-qualified to play sports.

“We don’t want to say, ‘Give me your speed in the 100 and we’ll forget about your ACT score,”‘ Frank said, referring to the standardized test.

Frank said a talented athlete could help energize a team, reverse a losing season and earn the university exposure, publicity and alumni donations it might not otherwise get. “They add something to the overall milieu of the campus community,” he said.

CSU’s student athletes have a 67 percent graduation rate after four years and a cumulative GPA of 2.96, compared with a 63 percent graduation rate in four years and GPA of 2.93 for the overall student body.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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