The NCAA Must be Bored

With all the witch hunts going around, and most of them seem necessary, the NCAA would seemingly have something better to do than to make college football players possibly have to take more classes during the busiest semester of their year.

Evidently not as it appears that a new NCAA proposal is about to be mandated requiring a 50% increase in the minimum class load of a college football player during the season.

From a regular college student and those that have attended college full time, it may not appear like much, but little by little it seems the NCAA is whittling away at the little things that are afforded a college football player. This one may not be so little.

Odds are, there aren't that many college football players that only take six credit hours in the fall semester, but for those that do their work every other semester of the year, they are now going to be penalized because the NCAA wants to help out with the APR or Academic Performance Rate that the NCAA has mandated for college programs.

The APR is based on the continual maturation of a student athlete towards their degree and college programs can be penalized for having a low APR with loss of scholarships among other penalties.

That is all fine and dandy, but forcing a player that works his tail off during the spring and summer to take a 50% increase in their course load is just one more thing to legislate that probably was well enough as it is.

John Infante is the assistant director of compliance at Loyola Marymount University and has a blog on the NCAA website called ‘The Bylaw Blog'. He writes about ‘Proposal 2010-59-C'.

"Proposal 2010-59-C was designed to improve football's APR scores and graduation rates by requiring football student-athletes to earn 9 credits (8 for quarter schools) in the fall term. This is up from the usual 6-credit hour requirement," Infante wrote on Thursday before adding the penalties for not complying with the new rule. "If a student-athlete fails to earn 9 credits, he will be ineligible for the first four contests the following year. If the student-athlete then earns 27 credits (40 at quarter schools) by the start of the following fall, he is only ineligible for the first two contests. And once during his career, a student-athlete can use the new 27 credit exception to regain eligibility for all contests."

So they do allow for a one year stumble through the fall semester if you make up the course work. And what used to be a rule, completing 24 credit hours in an academic year, is now up to 27. So it isn't like the standards are getting looser.

What I find a little misleading is what Infante says are the main reasons ‘for the student-athlete' that these rules are being implemented.

"This is intended to get student-athletes started on the right foot each year," he wrote. "By earning 9 credits during the fall, the hope is that football student-athletes are not scrapping by during the spring and summer to stay eligible. A higher credit hour requirement in the fall is also designed to put more student-athletes on a 3.5 year graduation track, so football student-athletes have their degree in hand when their eligibility is up."

Part one mystifies me. Make the fall semester harder, the one where the kids have 20 hours of practice and playing time per week that their coaching staff will use up, in order to make the other two semesters easier. I just wonder if they think these things through some times.

The second part makes no sense either. Any athlete only taking six or even nine credit hours in the fall has little to no intention of graduating in 3.5 years. In a 120-credit four-year degree it takes at least 30 a year to finish in four years. That means said player would have to average 34 credit hours a year.

2008 statistics show the average college student takes 4.7 years to complete a four year degree. The average college student is not a football player that has to devote 20 hours a week to something other than studying and going to class.

There will always be those student athletes that can manage things well and can finish their degree in that short 3.5 years, but to hold college football players to a higher standard than the general population seems a little bit too much. To take away their choice of having a softer schedule in the fall in order to cope with time constraints seems like it could be unfair.

They aren't allowed to have a job in the fall of any kind because they don't have enough time. But, you can force an extra three hours in the class room and six hours study time on them even with that same lack of time.

Has this thing really been thought out?

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