Cal responds to claims athletes get academic breaks


The median high school grade point average for incoming freshmen at Cal is 4.19 on a 4.0 scale. That's because so many take extra credit courses just to try to get in -- but not every student, including some athletes, arrive with those high marks.

"I think they should be held to the same standards if they are students at UC Berkeley because this whole school is a school of excellence," student Jack Austin said, a freshman football player at Cal -- even though he was accepted with a 3.6 GPA.

But the university says they look at other factors other than academics when selecting students and never pick someone who is bound to fail. "And we know they have so much else to bring to the campus community and we know they have skills and abilities that might not have been captured by grades and sat scores," Cal spokesperson Don Mogulof said.

"I'm not the strongest at the sciences, so I don't focus on taking science classes. You work with your strong points and I guess for them, it would be sports," student Coleen Ju said.

Except the Cal football team hasn't performed well this year. In the Pac12 Conference, they are 0 for 7. "The Cal football team is having some troubles right now. The number one concern I have is not their record, but the graduation rate," UC President Janet Napolitano told ABC7 News.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association found that between 2003 and 2006, only 44 percent of football players at Cal graduated. The most recent numbers are not out yet.

"They are leaving early and we have work to do on that front. We know it. The athletic director said she will be assembling a task force. We want to look at this in its entirety, in a comprehensive nature," Napolitano said.

The university wants the team's graduation rate closer to the overall number, which is above 90 percent.

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