A recent Bleacher Report article that looked into the most popular majors for college football players at the big five athletic conferences carried a curious response from an N.C. State University official:
“According to North Carolina State director of athletics digital communications Brian Reinhardt, the university's legal department requested an end to the release of student-athlete majors several years ago.”
NCSU officials say some athletic department staff mistakenly thought the information was private because of a decision a few years ago to not include it on the university’s website.
“It's public record and readily accessible,” said Fred Hartman, the director of NCSU’s news services. “There certainly is no mandate from our Office of General Counsel to withhold that information.
“Our sports information office says the Bleacher Report asked why athletics removed majors from the website. Apparently that was an editorial decision made by the sports information staff several years ago. Athletics will have to speak to why that decision was made.”
Associate athletic director Fred Demarest backed Hartman’s version of events. Demarest said the information is public, but the athletic department hasn’t been posting it for the past three years.
“This practice pre-dates me, as I understand it was around 2011 or 2012,” he said. “It's not an uncommon practice on many campuses today.”
Clustering in certain majors is a concern because it raises questions as to whether athletes are being steered to easy majors. The Bleacher Report article by Justin Ferguson found some majors very popular among certain teams.
“The only reason for a university to withhold athletes' majors would be to conceal the fact that athletes are clustering in programs that are known to be academically undemanding, to put it nicely,” said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “As we saw at UNC with the still-unfolding scandal over fraudulent classes in the African-American studies program, it is not unheard of for universities to offer easy-A courses to help athletes stay academically eligible.”
Demarest said there’s been no discussion whether NCSU will resume including the majors their athletes are pursuing on team websites as Duke and UNC and other schools do. He sent us the list of majors, which are included with this post. Demarest said he is also providing them to the Bleacher Report.
Top 5 majors
Bleacher Report recently listed the majors for most major college football players but did not collect N.C. State’s. The N&O obtained the Wolfpack’s list. Here are the top five majors for football players at UNC, Duke and N.C. State:
Evolutionary Anthropology 8
Political Science 5
Public Policy Studies 3
Exercise and Sport Science 32
General Studies (enrolled in the College) 26
Exploratory studies (Undecided) 41
Sport management 15
Engineering first year 6