COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Nearly a week after Clemson's football
team lost two highly regarded recruits because of academic
concerns, university President James F. Barker pledged Tuesday to
review the admissions process.
The issue took center stage last week when Tigers recruits
receiver Dwight Jones and tailback Jo Jo Cox were denied admission
by the school's Athletic Advisory Review Committee. Since then,
Tigers fans have lit up phone lines on sports talk shows and filled
Internet message boards critical of the decision.
Clemson may decide to keep the admissions process the same or
make modifications, Barker said. His only goal will be maintaining
academic integrity while "not putting Clemson at a competitive
disadvantage," he said.
"Few are improved through hasty changes made in anger or in
response to criticism," Barker wrote. "I will commit that Clemson
will conduct a thorough review of its process, with full
involvement of faculty, admissions officials and athletics staff."
"The bottom line is that our process is not perfect, but it
also is not a barrier to competitiveness as some have suggested."
After starting last season 7-1 and rising to No. 10 in the
country, Clemson dropped four of its final five games and ended
8-5. Those defeats included a 31-28 loss to rival South Carolina
and a 28-20 defeat to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden did not comment last week when asked
about the admissions process or the message it sent to Tigers
On Tuesday, Bowden welcomed the review. "I have confidence that
the university administration understands the importance of
recruiting on a level playing field," Bowden said in a statement.
"And that we will be able to recruit on a level playing field in
Jones, from Burlington, N.C., eventually signed with North
Carolina. Cox, who played last season at Fork Union Academy after
signing at Clemson in February 2006, has not yet signed to play
anywhere. There are reports that Clemson is reviewing
Cox's case again.