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Academic scores lag at Ga. Division I schools
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ATLANTA (AP) — Data from Georgia universities with top tier Division I football programs shows they're willing to make exceptions to admission requirements for football players despite the schools becoming increasingly competitive for other incoming freshmen.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( ) analyzed data from the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Georgia State and found a pattern of football players trailing the general student population in several areas including SAT scores, GPAs and graduation rates.

The newspaper reported that the schools accepted more than 230 football players who didn't meet University System of Georgia minimum academic requirements between 2009 and 2014. Special admissions for athletes are made on a case-by-case basis, said Georgia State University Vice Provost Timothy Renick.

"We want to make a fair decision for the student led by whether the student has a good prospect for succeeding," Renick said. Administrators consider many factors aside from test scores in admissions, Georgia Tech Vice Provost for Enrollment Paul Krohn said, adding that making some exceptions can help diversify the student body.

"I don't want a campus of clones," he said.

College administrators say graduation rates among athletes are improving, and the newspaper reported that some schools have boosted their academic support and counseling staff to keep student athletes on track.

The newspaper reports UGA now spends about $2.2 million annually on academic support programs for student athletes. According to a filing with the NCAA, the school's football program earned roughly $77 million last year.