“Academics are vitally important and demand just as much attention as athletics, especially in college.”

One thing about next year’s recruiting scene that isn’t getting much attention now, but I suspect will as things move on, is that 2016 marks the year when the NCAA’s new academic standards for high schoolers kick in.  And they’re a fairly big deal:

The new initial-eligibility requirements create a higher academic standard for freshman to play. That standard is higher than what will be needed to receive aid and practice, creating an academic redshirt year.

Student-athletes who achieve the current minimum initial-eligibility standard will continue to be eligible for athletically related financial aid during the first year of enrollment and practice during the first regular academic term of enrollment. Student-athletes could earn practice during the second term of enrollment by passing nine semester or eight quarter hours.

For immediate access to competition, prospective student-athletes must achieve at least a 2.3 GPA and an increased sliding scale. For example, an SAT score of 1,000 requires a 2.5 high school core-course GPA for competition and a 2.0 high school core-course GPA for aid and practice.

Prospects also must successfully complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of their senior year in high school. Seven of the 10 courses must be successfully completed in English, math and science.

The ostensible purpose is to make sure that incoming student-athletes are better prepared to handle the academic pressures of college.  Whether that works is something we’ll have to wait to judge, but even with the four-year transition period to adapt to the new requirements, I expect we’ll see a larger number of kids in the 2016 class who aren’t accepted by D-1 schools than we’ve previously seen.  Those whispers you hear about a particular kid’s grades being shaky may have more weight than ever.

35 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Recruiting, The NCAA

35 responses to ““Academics are vitally important and demand just as much attention as athletics, especially in college.”

  1. It sounds like the NCAA and the universities are getting more serious about the academic mission of intercollegiate athletics. It definitely puts pressure on the coaches to identify players who can succeed academically in addition to athletically as part of the recruiting process. It lets the athletes know they won’t be playing immediately if they aren’t academically prepared coming from high school. It lets the recruiting services know their value has diminished because who cares how many stars a high school kid has beside their names if they aren’t ready to be a college student. It sounds like a good start to bringing some balance to the big business of college sports.

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  2. Timphd

    Color me confused. A kid can earn a scholarship and come in and practice but simply can’t play in the game? Exactly how is that going to help a marginal kid? The demands of practice are far more rigorous than actually playing in a game. If they were truly serious, there would simply be a freshman redshirt year with no practice until credits were earned. I know that there is that possibility for the lowest scorers but it should be for all the marginal kids. Seems the greatest demand on their time is practice which greatly impacts study time. If they can handle practice, let them play in the game. Or don’t allow them to practice at all.

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    • That’s true for football but really not for the other sports where there are multiple games in a week or a multi-day tournament where part of it occurs during the week. Think about a basketball team where the team has to travel on Monday for a game at College Station on Tuesday night. After the game, travel most of the night to be back in class on Wednesday morning. Get on another flight on Friday to go to Fayetteville for a game on Saturday and fly back. The athlete may make class 3 days that week if everything falls into place.

      I like the fact that this rule ties performing on the stage as a freshman to their hard work for the previous 4 years in high school. To me, it’s a step in the right direction.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Yep, EE, certainly can not hurt as long as it is enforced. Ya know, up above I mention stars and academics….are grades privileged information for recruiting services? Obviously a school can see transcripts, but can the Newbergians see them? I don’t know.

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        • The Newbergians can’t see them unless the parent/guardian gives them a copy. I don’t know what 3rd parties can get them even with permission. A university can’t get the transcript without the written consent of the parent/guardian.

          Enforcement is the key. The bad actors will try to find ways to skirt the rules, but it will be the high schools’ responsibility to fight them off. The key is the standardized testing. The scale is driven from the test score, and they can’t move that unless they have somebody deep inside the testing services.

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          • DawgPhan

            yes standardized testing…that will save us.

            Higher GPA means lower standardized test scores.

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            • I think the sliding scale is going to be based on the standardized test score only (higher test score, lower GPA requirement but not vice versa). I hope the scale doesn’t slide on both inputs because the grade inflation concern will be real.

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          • Debby Balcer

            There are smart kids who don’t do well on standardized testing so that is not the answer.

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            • Then what’s the solution? If they don’t do well on the standardized test, then the GPA has to be higher. I don’t see what’s the problem with that. It’s the way all college admissions work. The NCAA is just taking the next step by saying game eligibility as a freshman requires a sliding scale just as they do now for scholarship eligibility.

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              • Debby Balcer

                I have two bright girls one who could max any standardized test with a 105 degree temp and one who freezes on standardized test. The who freezes would blow out the scores on oral comp. Both graduated with honors and graduated with honors from college. Educators will tell you standardized test are a good measure for some kids but not for others. You can produce grade inflation just by the type of classes you take. My oldest (great standardized test taker) was the valedictorian of her high school. She took every hard class there was except AP history. Grades were not weighted in her school so some kids took some easy classes to bump their gpa. Being the valedictorian was not her goal learning was so it was the icing on the cake to achieve it while taking the most rigorous classes. The answer is not simple. An A in one district or school could be a C in another.

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            • It’s not easy to figure it all out. And parents gotta be parents and be involved. We pulled our kids out of public school after the 5th grade. I have friends in education. Knew one of their principals in college. No insult meant to pro public school people. I found it to be a two tier system in ACC. I’d look in on my youngest son and the table he sat at was full of oriental kids and kids from India. The table my oldest kid sat at there were few kids that looked like him. I was puzzled. He was a bright kid took honors program math class. But his grades were not impressive in other areas. When we moved him to private school they said he was a year behind in his reading level. They asked if we still wanted to move him to a new school. It was a grind the first couple of years but by the 8th grade he was a different student. And his mom and I could ease up and not work with him so much. By his soph year he had a gear and by the junior year he was taking all the AP classes he could. He finished at Georgia with a Biology degree and great GPA. He had worked for Athens Regional while in college and an orthopedic group for a year after he graduated and studied for the MCAT. He too always struggled with standardized test . He had an average MCAT score. He’s in med school now. The sign we had made and posted at the top of the stairs “If you put the time in …you get the results” He took that to med school with him when he left Athens.

              Click to access Pros_and_Cons_of_Standardized_Testing_1.pdf

              http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/rich-black-flunking/Content?oid=1070459

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    • Macallanlover

      Agree. Isn’t this similar to why many players have to go to a school to prove themselves academically, just with a higher standard. I agree with the concept but a year at a Ga Military type “prep” school seems a better approach than these players being on campus and playing the roles of tackling dummies with no chance of playing.

      I also think the improved levels they are looking for have to start in the 8th or 9th grade, so shouldn’t it have been phased in? Senator is right, the impact of these new requirements may hit deeper than we might think. So much so that it could increase the level of cheating to qualify the athletes? We may be moving closer to the “NFL training league” than we think, or a major challenge on the eligibility timing for the NFL draft.

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      • GaskillDawg

        Some kids will continue to be better off going junior college or prep. By the way, Georgia Military is a junior college not a prep school. It has a middle and high school and it calls that the “prep school” but it does not offer residence for high school kids. I know you were probably thinking of prep school such as Hargrave.

        If a kid has adequate grades but is short on his or her test scores he or she can go a year to places such as Hargrave and try to get the test scores up. That student has 4 years of eligibility. Example is Leonard Floyd. If the kid lacks the grades the alternative is junior college such as GMC. A kid lacking the grades has to graduate from a two year junior college to qualify. Example is Toby Johnson. That kid arrives at a 4 year school with 2 or 3 years of eligibility, depending upon if he or she redshirted a year in JC. There are occasionally kids who are academic qualifiers but go to a junior college to improve their sports skills. If that player was a qualifier out of high school he or she can transfer from a JC and be eligible immediately.

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    • eethomaswfnc at 9:20 is accurate. I also think the rule is designed to enourage the kids while still in middle and high school to begin preparing academically.

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  3. So now you will have Early enrollees, normal enrollees, and academic redshirt enrollees. Sounds like we’re gonna need a bigger staff.

    Other than that, I don’t see this as any different than the GMC year (or any JUCO), except the fact that their recruitment is shut down.

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  4. Joe Schmoe

    This all strikes me as the NCAA trying to bolster its legal arguments that it is primarily focused on academics rather than sports in the face of all the litigation barreling down on it.

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    • GaskillDawg

      First thing I thought, since there has been for a long time been a sliding scale for academic qualification to play.

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  5. LorenzoDawgriquez

    I don’t know how Saban will game this to an advantage, but he will find a way. I see some major high school grade inflation on the horizon.

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  6. 69Dawg

    Well it looks like the marginal academic great player will contribute 2 years now instead of 3. Screws roster management all up. College will now just be glorified JC ball. Think Knowson.

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  7. Cosmic Dawg

    This makes the NCAA-NFL trust all the more damaging to kids who could earn a living with a football in a free market but aren’t good students. How progressive.

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    • LorenzoDawgriquez

      I still wish the NFL was forced to have a minor league/developmental league for those athletes like Clowney who stated very plainly that he didn’t like school. They could make some money and the colleges would not have to pretend they are in school for the education.

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    • Debby Balcer

      That is true on all levels. You can not develop your athletic skills without grades in middle school or high school. Some kids give academics all their attention and are doing their best when they earn a C.

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      • Should that kid be thrown into the academic cauldron of a large research university if they can barely handle high school? That student needs to go to junior college to determine if they can handle the rigor of a large university. This situation is exactly what led to Kemp and is giving a truly great public university a major black eye right now to go along with their Tar Heel.

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    • There’s no way the NFL would start drafting players directly from high school without a minor league in place. The free market has demonstrated consistently that minor league football is an economic loser, and one thing Goodell and his 32 bosses know how to do is make money. As long as the NFL has its union agreement in place, the 3-year requirement isn’t going anywhere either. The college game is going to have to adapt by either offering more economic opportunity for its student-athletes or by moving toward an academic model where if you can’t get into school on your academic merits, you can’t sign the scholarship.

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