At one point, Auburn University offered a major in public administration. Not too long ago, that major was in danger of being discontinued.
Auburn athletics can be credited with saving it.
Per Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal, the athletic department lobbied for the major to be saved because it was popular amongst student-athletes.
In 2013, Auburn University’s curriculum review committee took up the case of a small, unpopular undergraduate major called public administration. After concluding that the major added very little to the school’s academic mission, the committee voted to eliminate it.
But according to internal documents and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the committee’s decision was ultimately overruled by top administrators after it met significant opposition from another powerful force on campus: Auburn’s athletic department.
According to James Crepea of AL.com, 14 Auburn football players are majoring in public administration, along with four basketball players.
Sure enough, this does look a bit shady on Auburn’s part. The school wanted to get rid of a major that, as Cohen put it, “added very little to the school’s academic mission,” and suddenly the athletic department swooped in and worked hard to ensure that it was maintained. Maybe because the coursework made it easier for student-athletes to remain academically eligible?
Even if that is the case, there have to be other cases of schools doing just what Auburn did, but were swept under the rug or kept quiet. Just the same, that doesn’t make Auburn look any better.
Should any new information become available, Campus Sports will update this story.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports