Jan. 27, 2014
SMU Statement on Reporting of DISD Investigation
January 27, 2014
SMU wishes to correct the record on a recent media report regarding the admission of an SMU student athlete.
As with all information related to student admissions, we are careful to make decisions based on official records of academic performance. Using our typical procedures, we granted admission to the student in question based on information on the official DISD transcript and certification of his graduation by DISD.
Several other points need to be made.
- Because we care about the potential of our student athletes to be academically successful at SMU, it is not unusual for a coach to inquire about the academic progress of a prospective student athlete. This is common practice among universities. In this way, it can be determined whether the student is on track to complete academic requirements and qualify for admission.
- As part of that practice, Assistant Coach Ulric Maligi asked for an update on the student’s grades, about whether the student needed to do extra credit assignments or take an extra course during the summer. He spoke with a higher education adviser who represented herself as the point of contact for the student’s academic performance. Previous grade reports indicated a passing grade in physics and other subjects. Subsequently, Coach Maligi conferred with the student’s high school counselor, a DISD employee, who instructed him to disregard the interim grade report he had just received. She indicated that DISD had experienced a problem regarding alleged grade changes at Kimball High School. This conversation led Coach Maligi to believe that DISD had addressed the issue and that forthcoming information on student grades would be accurate, as DISD has affirmed.
- SMU received the final transcript on July 1, confirming the student’s graduation, with grades and credits indicating the student could qualify for SMU admission and NCAA eligibility. The alleged grade change on an earlier interim report was not reflected on the official transcript and thus did not have an impact on admission to SMU or NCAA eligibility.
- Regarding the alleged attendance issue, SMU, like any other university, must rely on a school district’s procedures certifying that a student meets all qualifications for graduation. Universities are not provided with attendance records of high school students applying for admission.
- With regard to the timing of SMU’s response to queries by the auditors, SMU’s athletics compliance officer was in communication with the investigator in August and September, and on October 4 provided a written response to the investigator’s questions.
It is unfortunate that misinformation has been publicized, even before SMU received the 500-page document on the investigation at 8:15 a.m. today. As DISD addresses its issues with personnel and procedures, we hope that future media reporting on such important matters will be more accurately conveyed.