Study reveals no ‘clustering’ within Appalachian athletes

Chelsey Fisher

UNC-system college athletics have been under scrutiny following the UNC-Chapel Hill clustering controversy.

Last year, it was discovered some UNC-Chapel Hill athletes were placed in classes without attendance policies or generally easier classes.

In the wake of the scandal there was an internal audit at Appalachian to see if there were any signs of academic clustering.

The report concluded Appalachian “does not show indications of academic clustering among its student-athlete population.”

“We inherently knew there wasn’t a problem, but wanted to make sure,” Athletics Director Charlie Cobb said.

“Clustering” is when 25 percent of any team shares one major.

The study showed student athletes have declared 96 different majors, which is 44.5 percent of the majors offered at Appalachian, according to

In football and men’s basketball, where clustering has been found most common, Appalachian’s football program has an average of 3.02 student-athletes per major with 40 different majors represented and men’s basketball has an average of 1.08 student-athletes per major with 10 different majors represented.

“The key to our work is integrity,” Director of Academic Services for Athletes Kim Sherrill said. “That’s what we teach our athletes, that here we’re going to do things right.”

“If a student athlete comes to me and wants to figure out their major I do it the same way as when I advised the general student population,” Sherrill said.

Criminal justice freshman and offensive lineman Tyson Fernandez said the study shows Appalachian “cares about their student athletes.”

“[Athletes] are willing to play fair and play by the rules, all the athletic advisors and academic advisers care that we do succeed,” Fernandez said.


Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, News Reporter