Stanford University
Stanford University Cardinal guard Jayne Appel Reuters

A list of courses allegedly offered only to undergraduate student athletes in Stanford University has been discontinued after it created a furor in media due to its partisan nature.

According to a report in the college newspaper Stanford Daily, a closely guarded quarterly list containing selective and supposedly easy courses to choose from was distributed among athletes only on campus for years. The list titled Courses of Interest was distributed by the Athletic Academic Resource Center on demand though it was not published on their website. Some of the courses on it did not even fulfill the University's general education requirements.

The University has reportedly withdrawn the list after an investigative report by students, subsequently picked up by various publications, brought the above facts to light. A spokesperson, however, has been quoted in Inside Higher Education as saying that there has been no official decision to the effect though some administrators have opined that such a list may not be necessary at all.

The same person also pointed out that the list was not meant to be a collection of easy or less rigorous courses; on the contrary, it was put together by academic advisers keeping in mind convenient times for athletes, general education requirements, popularity among all undergraduate students and the skills/content that would be particularly useful for athletes. However, she was not able to satisfactorily explain why certain courses were chosen over others (despite satisfying all of the above criteria), or why a course such as ATHLETIC 187, Analysis of Human Movement - which does not satisfy general education requirements - found its way on to it.

The incident has cast a shadow on Stanford's perceived mandate of equal scholastic footing for all its undergraduate students and has led to questions not only over whether the list comprised a concrete academic advantage for student-athletes but also whether the practice of having a special athletes only list of courses is ethical.