GCU Statement Regarding CBS Report, Pac-12 Concerns
Contact: Bill Jenkins
Grand Canyon University
GCU Statement Regarding CBS Report, Pac-12 Concerns
July 18, 2013
In light of the recent CBSSports.com report in which Pac-12 CEO’s have questioned the admittance of for-profit schools to NCAA Division I athletics, Grand Canyon University President and CEO Brian Mueller has issued the following statement:
“Grand Canyon University is the first investment-based institution to be invited to join NCAA Division I athletics. We believe there are good reasons for that. Grand Canyon has a strong academic and athletic history dating back to 1949. Our traditional campus is expected to grow to greater than 8,500 students this fall with an average incoming freshman GPA of 3.5 and an admission requirement of 3.0. We have seven colleges and 97 academic programs. We are proud of those programs and take special pride in the fact that nearly 50 percent of our traditional students are studying in the sciences. Our online campus of working adult students has grown to 47,000 with nearly 45 percent of those students studying at the graduate level. Our nursing program graduates have a 97 percent pass rate on the NCLEX test to become certified professionally. Our fine arts program has grown rapidly in the last three years and has won many awards in the state of Arizona. Our students, staff and faculty are involved in record numbers of community service programs in the greater Phoenix area. In the last four years, we have made a $300 million investment in state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, dormitories and athletic facilities – a figure that exceeds our after-tax profits during that time. We are proud of our recent accomplishments, especially in light of the fact that just 10 years ago we nearly closed our doors. We believe we are doing great things at GCU and are very thankful we have been invited to participate at the Division I level.
“The CBS report indicated that the issue of our involvement in Division I athletics originated with Arizona State University, and we have received numerous reports that ASU President Michael Crow is the source behind this. We have absolutely no quarrel with Arizona State University. We respect the institution, its academic programs, faculty, students, alumni and athletic programs, and have been appreciative of our competitive environment in athletics with them. Since we became a for-profit institution in 2004, we have had more than 20 competitions against ASU, including five in the last school year. My two oldest sons attended ASU and the oldest was an All-Pac-12 member of the men’s golf team and an Academic All-American. Both had good experiences as students at Arizona State University.
“Shortly after we accepted our invitation to join Division I membership, we learned about Dr. Crow’s concern with regard to GCU. We found out that he instructed his athletic director to cancel all previously scheduled contests with GCU. At the time, we asked to schedule a meeting with Dr. Crow, but he declined our request. We decided to take the high road in this matter and just continue our path to becoming reclassified as a Division I university, a process that takes four years. Subsequently, we learned that Dr. Crow encouraged other Pac-12 schools not to schedule games against GCU during a Pac-12 presidents meeting. Lastly, we learned that the issue of for-profit university membership in Division I athletics, at the request of the Pac-12, was going to be an agenda item at the NCAA board of directors meeting in August. At this point, we again asked to meet with Dr. Crow and he declined. In light of the CBS report, we felt it necessary to answer questions and speak publicly about the report and the Pac-12’s concerns.
“In the CBS report, a question was raised about GCU being ‘responsible to financial partners and shareholders’ and questioned whether we would have our priorities in order as a result of that. One, we are accredited by the same regulatory body that accredits Arizona State University and the other state universities in Arizona. Two, this was never an issue during the last 10 years while we were a for-profit institution and active NCAA Division II member. Three, state and private, non-profit universities are responsible to financial partners and stakeholders as well – namely, the state taxpayers and donors that subsidize and support these institutions. Our university’s track record in this area is stellar. As a private university, GCU does not receive state subsidies or donations. In fact, we pay taxes in the 40 percent tax bracket. Rather than pay dividends to shareholders, we have spent $300 million from our cash reserves during the past four years on the educational infrastructure of our university. We are clearly investing in our students and our school.
“Again, we are disappointed in these attacks against our reputation. We believe the real motivation is the competitive environment for both traditional and non-traditional students in Arizona. Arizona State is a Research I university that is well-respected, but we believe there is also room in the state of Arizona for a private, high-quality Christian university with low, competitive tuition rates.”
To read the CBS report, click here.