New Regs, If Passed, Will Change the Face of DI College Sports

Incoming student-athletes could be facing stiffer initial eligibility standards if the NCAA has its way.

Buoyed by the recent good news that graduation rates for student-athletes have improved in Division I, the NCAA is on the precipice of ramping up their academic standards to an even higher margin. A press release Tuesday on put the word out that high school student-athletes and junior college transfers can anticipate a bump in initial eligibility requirements. Without mentioning what those new standards will be, the nation’s largest athletic governing body is hoping to ride the wave of sentiment that more needs to be done to insure that academics are emphasized from the prep level throughout college for student-athletes.

We can expect some push back from some areas, particularly in the minority-based segment which has historically raised concerns when similar moves have been proposed. But this argument will not dissuade an NCAA armed with clear evidence that demanding more accountability is having significant, positive results.

More pressure will also be placed on programs in regards to the academic performance of their teams as a whole. Without acceptable progress toward receiving degrees, the NCAA is recommending that programs be disallowed to participate in post season tournaments. This will compel administrators and coaches to more closely monitor and push all their athletes to comply with the elevated regs which were designed  in large measure to force coaches to recruit a better caliber of athlete, academically speaking.

Accompanying these upgrades will be other proposals which will in some manner placate those opposed to the increased qualification base lines, namely that member schools will be allowed to offer multi-year scholarships versus the current single-year model. With this option, Division I programs can provide more financial security for student-athletes and their families.

Perhaps, though, the most noteworthy proposal will be to provide student-athletes with what amounts to a $2,000.00 stipend for additional college-related expenses. This is a maneuver in response to the increasingly ardent call by a growing legion  of administrators, coaches and boosters to provide a more equitable financial situation for athletes without getting into a much dreaded pay-for-play scenario.


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