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At the first meeting of a panel to discuss the role of athletics on a university campus, speakers and Carolina community members agreed on one thing: College sports aren’t going away.

But there was no consensus among invited speakers about how to fix what some say is at odds with the academic mission of Carolina and other universities like it.

The panel, which met on April 19, is chaired by Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities. He is joined by James Delany, longtime commissioner of the Big Ten Conference; Bob Malekoff, associate professor and sport studies chair at Guilford College; Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics; and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, former associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

“Today we’re here to listen,” said Rawlings, who’d been asked by Chancellor Holden Thorp to lead the panel based on a key recommendation of the Faculty Executive Committee to examine the role of athletics in the life of the University.

Thorp invited a group of speakers with diverse viewpoints: Jay Bilas, ESPN broadcaster, attorney and a former Duke basketball player; Bubba Cunningham, director of athletics at Carolina; Joy Renner, Faculty Athletics Committee chair and clinical associate professor of allied health sciences; Jay Smith, professor and associate chair of history; and Richard Southall, associate professor of sport administration and director of the College Sport Research Institute.

Read more about the discussion and view video from the meeting on the Rawlings Panel website.

Published April 26, 2013.