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The Division I board of Directors of the NCAA have reformed several academic requirements for student athlete eligibility. This is part of a reform package to help increase graduation rates for athletes.
The basic thrust of the new rules will be to de-emphasis standardized testing and make the student grade point average the basis of college admission. A new sliding scale was proposed in August and later passed this fall. It allows a student with a straight B average or 3.0 grade point average to minimally obtain a standardized score of 620 on the SAT or 52 on the ACTS to gain full eligibility for freshman year. With a lower GPA you need a higher standardized score.
Washington Post columnist Mark Asher summated the basis of the change in his August 8, 2003, story. The case of Cureton vs. the NCAA was part of the basis of this article. In that case the court held that the NCAA was within its rights in setting academic standards.
Many had argued that the standardized testing of students is racially biased. It discriminates against athletes that come from lower socioeconomic levels. The test also discriminates against specific ethnic groups including African Americans.
As part of the new set of rules the core curriculum requirement will be increased to 14 from the present 13 classes. These core classes must include a minimum of 2 years of mathematics, 2 years of physical science, 4 years of English and social science, as well as, history.
The new requirements also state that each student athlete must take a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester with a minimum of 18 credit hours per year. In order to gain full sophomore eligibility that student must have accumulated 24 credit hours prior to the start of the sophomore year.
Until the year 2005 the athlete can decide which set of standards to apply to his or her college admission. This is to minimize any affect of the change from 13 to 14 core courses.
Several academicians have spoken out against the new standards. These have included Presidents of member institutions, faculty and athletic directors. Some fear that it is showing that by being against the SAT or Act scores they are opposed to quality education. Others fear that grade inflation will become prevalent at the high school level. They are afraid that a new brand of academic mill will be developed to help these students achieve the needed grades by pure and simple inflation of the core GPA.
My fear is that in the long run those who look to skirt the edge of the law will negate everything that the NCAA is trying to do. The ultimate losers will be the students that need the academic help the most. The ultimate winners will be the people that line their pockets with money at the expense of these students.
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