The reports, from USA Today, Bloomberg News, and The Washington Post, triggered a reaction of near panic in Connecticut when it appeared the UConn men's basketball team might end up banned from the 2012 NCAA tournament and unable to defend its national championship. Instead, if the proposal before the NCAA Division Board of
Directors Friday is approved, it would take effect in 2013. That had been the original understanding but Emmert, speaking to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics Monday, gave the impression that the process could be accelerated and begin in 2012.
"There was ‘miscommunication' in the story that went out [Monday]," Emmert reportedly said Tuesday.
It isn't clear why the NCAA didn't clear this up Monday night, instead of allowing speculation to build. But, more importantly for this season's edition of the Huskies, there will be a phase-in process.
Here is what The Sporting News reported Tuesday:
"The NCAA is moving to impose higher academic standards for qualification in championships it sponsors, and Emmert wants them in place for football bowl games, too. But if approved this week by the NCAA board of directors, the new standards will be phased in over a four-year period that would begin in 2012-13.
"We're trying to change behavior, so we have to give people a chance to adjust," said University of Hartford president Walter Harrison, chairman of the NCAA committee on academic performance.
The Hartford Courant reported that although UConn's APR for men's basketball for the most recent academic year was expected to be a considerable improvement, even a perfect score of 1,000 would not raise it to a 900 average over the four-year period measured for these purposes.
That led to fears the Huskies might not be able to defend their title.
That's no longer an issue.
It still is interesting to see the NCAA moving toward increasing this standard, though, given it proudly announced Tuesday that the graduation rate for Division I athletes reached an 82-percent level for the first time.
But Jim Calhoun's program still has a major academic headache, based on those graduation rates. USA Today's Steve Wieberg filed this report Tuesday:
The Huskies are doing one of the worst jobs in the country of graduating their players, according to findings released Tuesday by the NCAA, seeing only a quarter of those on scholarship come away with degrees over a four-year period.
UConn's 25% rate — for players arriving from 2001-04, allowing them six years to graduate — was tied for sixth-lowest among 338 Division I men's programs. Two more regional finalists in last season's NCAA tournament had sub-50% grad rates: Florida (38%) and Arizona (43%).
Overall, the NCAA was able to point to a record four-year rate of 80% across the more than three dozen men's and women's sports covered in its annual study. "Academic reform is working," Emmert said.
There is no doubt much more will be debated on this topic before the next set of APR score are released next May. And UConn, as defending national champ, will be in the center of the debate.