Former UW players sound off on admissions policy

Former UW players sound off on admissions policy
Barry Alvarez

The University of Wisconsin’s admissions process is yet again being questioned after another star recruit is lost to a rival school.

Dall running back Jordan Stevenson announced this week he’ll play for Nebraska. The decision comes after he signed with Wisconsin but ultimately wasn’t admitted to the university.

“The kid did everything we asked him to do,” said UW football coach Paul Chryst. “There’s a part of me that’s happy he landed at a good place.”

Athletic Director Barry Alvarez says he isn’t consulted before a student is admitted or denied.

“They don’t talk to the coaches,” Alvarez says.  “They look at scores, they look at numbers, they look at whatever they see, and at times make decisions before there’s a verbal appeal.”

Former football players are also crying foul.

“You see these kids leaving, and they’re going to other competitors that have just as good academics as UW,” says Jake Pedersen, a tight end that graduated in 2013. “So why does that university think the kid can have success, but not Wisconsin?”

Pedersen argues coaches don’t have a say in the admissions process, despite having a deeper knowledge of potential players.

“Coach Chryst drove all the way up to my house in Michigan sat with my family and I and got to know us personally – I don’t think admissions is doing that,” he says.

A change might soon come, though. Alvarez hinted to CBS Sports reporters that a change in the admissions process, potentially including an appeals opportunity, might come by 2016.

“We all want the same thing – we want the kid to succeed,” Chryst said. “[Admissions] wants to make sure the kid who’s admitted can succeed, and I want to be able to speak on behalf of those players.”

Pedersen hopes any change in protocol will give coaches more say in the admissions decision of their players.

“They’re the ones who truly know the players inside and out, not just their academics,” he says. “If a coach thinks a kid can come in and be successful, then why is the school not listening to the coaching staff?”

UW’s athletic department did not respond to requests for comment, but the university has previously said its academic and athletic success is proof the admissions process is working.