Academic reforms will impact recruitingPosted: Tuesday December 03, 2002 5:15 PM
On Oct. 31, the NCAA passed a package of reform measures designed to improve the graduation rates of Division I student-athletes. The NCAA received final approval with support by the NCAA Board of Directors. The new reform will have a direct bearing on academic qualifying for incoming student athletes and will take effect on Aug. 1, 2003. This now gives college presidents a legislative foothold to enhance graduation rates and minimize adverse impact on minorities.
The new academic model will set standards and academic profiles for student-athletes by providing guidelines. If you don’t meet the guidelines you will not be allowed to participate in college sports.
What does this mean to college football recruiting? This will certainly have a great impact on recruiting classes. Each year, a small number of college football prospects fail to qualify academically for the college with which they sign their letters of intent. Most of the time, they then go to a two-year junior college or prep school. Now, most of these non-qualifiers will be admitted to college.
First things first, student-athletes must qualify for college. In the new system, high school student-athletes now will be required to have 14 core classes, not 13 as in the old system. In addition, each student-athlete has to maintain a 2.000 grade point average in those core classes. The “sliding scale” also would extend the relationship between the standardized test scores and the core course GPA. This establishes a sliding scale that maintains a 2.000 grade point average cut but eliminates the test score cut.
Another provision revises the percentages toward a degree for a student-athlete. Now a student-athlete must achieve at least 24 semester hours of academic credit to be completed before the student-athlete enters his second year. In addition, the student-athlete must complete 40 percent of their of their classes toward their degree by the end of year two, 60 percent by the end of year three, and 80 percent by year four. If they do not achieve this at any given time, the student-athlete will be ruled ineligible.
The Board is concerned that reducing the significance of test scores would increase the risk of grade inflation at the high school level. But there is a checks-and-balances system in place with the progress toward degree standard (40/60/80). If prospects are admitted with inflated high school grades, they likely will struggle under the new requirements as they work toward their degrees.
There is another little goody on the table at the NCAA called the Academic Progress Rate. The NCAA is trying to come up with a system that will provide a real-time snapshot of a team’s academic success. Teams will be rewarded or penalized based on how their student-athletes meet the academic requirements. So it will only behoove the college programs to admit student-athletes that will do the academic workload or else they will be held accountable.
This will not help all the colleges but it certainly will help the high school student-athlete. With the sliding scale all but gone, as long as you maintain a 2.000 GPA and complete all your core classes, you will get into school. This doesn’t help the Stanfords and Georgia Techs of the world but it certainly helps college programs with minimum academic requirements. Schools such as Stanford, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame have higher academic standards for their student athletes to begin with. In fact, Stanford’s minimum academic requirement is a 3.0 GPA and 1100 SAT.
In the past, minorities in particular, have had issues with the standardized tests (SAT and ACT). Some believe these tests are culturally biased. Before, there was a sliding scale with a direct correlation between the student-athletes’ grade point averages and their standardized test scores. For instance, if a student-athlete had a core GPA of 2.000 then they had to score at least a 1010 on the SAT or a 22 on the ACT. If a student-athlete had a core GPA of 2.5, then they had to score an 820 or 17.
This new legislation could be potentially vital for the prospect(s) with a low GPA (2.000), even though they complete the required core classes, that don’t score well on the standardized test. As long as the necessary core classes are taken and passed, they will get into to college. Once they get into college, it is up to them, with the university’s support system, to make sure they do the required things to stay eligible.
This also could be detrimental to college football. There are many student-athletes who score poorly for a reason. Under the new reform, they will be admitted in college, even though they may not be able and ready to handle the academic work-load. That is why this system doesn’t work for Stanford, Notre Dame and other institutions. They raise their academic standards for a reason. These schools want to accept student-athletes that they know can handle their academics.
The bottom line is that the NCAA made a move to help more student-athletes get into college. Will this system work in the long run? Maybe. But with the importance of graduation rates on the forefront, this could be a step in the right direction. However, each university will be held more accountable than ever to make sure their student-athletes, whom they admitted to their schools, are doing to right things and maintaining their grades toward the ultimate goal – graduation.
Have we seen the end to this academic reform? Likely not.
“What we did and what we have before us doesn’t mean our work is finished,” said Robert Hemenway, board chair and chancellor of the University of Kansas in a press release from the NCAA. “We have asked for additional research on further increasing the number of high school core courses and I believe we will seriously consider increasing that number to 15 or 16. We also are examining models that will establish a new graduation success rate we strive to ever more accurately judge whom among those who participate in our athletics program actually graduate.”
Nation’s top prospect loves first visit
Ernie Sims is the nation's top prospect. The senior from Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian took his first official visit last weekend.
"The trip to UGA was great," said Sims. "It was my first time there and I was surprised. The players and coaches are great and they all get along so well. The fans were so great at the game. I also realized that I can play at Georgia. Coach Richt explained to me that they need running backs and linebackers. They will leave the choice to me. At Georgia, they also have a good vet school and I can get a great education."
Sims, a linebacker and running back, will visit Florida in two weeks and also visit Auburn, Miami and Florida State in January. He is no longer looking at Tennessee. With the in-home visits cranking up this week, Auburn will be in his house on Wednesday, FSU on Thursday, Georgia next Tuesday, Florida next Wednesday and Auburn again next Thursday. Sims will announce his decision on Signing Day.
North Florida Christian got knocked out of the playoffs in round two. They had previously won four straight state titles.
-- Jamie Newberg, TheInsidersRecruiting.com
Texas’ No. 1 prospect back From Tallahassee
Tarrell Brown calls his trip to Tallahassee " a great trip," adding, "FSU's definitely in consideration."
In addition to Florida State, Brown has visited Ohio State and Texas A&M.
"With coach [R.C.] Slocum getting fired tonight, I don't know about that situation," he continued. "I'll just have to see how that plays out. I will be going down to Texas for their Football Banquet on December 13th." And will there be a fifth visit?
"I don't know at this point," Tarell said. "I may take a visit to Florida. I'll just have to wait and see."
Brown will be playing in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio on January 5th that will be broadcast on ESPN.
-- David Garvin, HeartlandRecruiting.com
USC scores big with Faraimo
Salo Faraimo, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound athlete from Vista (Calif.) has committed to USC. Faraimo is a talented player at both linebacker and running back and will get a crack at playing defense for the Trojans.
"He's the best player on our team," Vista head coach Chris Hauser said. "Leon [Hall] got more recruiting attention and is a great player in his own right, but Salo has been our best player this year. He's so talented and plays every play like it was his last.
"Salo has always liked USC and thought about committing before the season but decided to hold off. I think he just felt like the time was right now and he's very excited to be a Trojan. This is a dream come true for him."
Faraimo rushed for 793 yards and 16 touchdowns this season while also leading the team in tackles for the second straight year. At the SoCal Nike Camp, he clocked a 4.62 in the 40, 4.29 in the shuttle and jumped 31 inches in the vertical.
We saw Faraimo at the Edison (Calif.) passing tournament over the summer and loved how hard he played and how active he was. He's very athletic, can cover a back coming out of the backfield and has very good closing speed. He's a very instinctual player and always seems to be around the football.
Faraimo committed to the Trojans over Washington who had also offered.
-- Greg Biggins of PacWestFootball.com
Munday trips to NC State
At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills safety Ryan Mundy took his second official visit of the year last weekend.
"N.C. State was a lot of fun," he said. "I really enjoyed the coaches, the facilities, and of course the big win they had. But my top two are still Michigan and Pitt. It's probably going to be out of those two."
Mundy said he likes both programs a lot. "Pitt's close to home and I think they're headed in the right direction. Michigan's got all the tradition and the atmosphere. I'll probably visit Virginia too."
In 12 games, Mundy has 32 catches for 755 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense with 40 tackles and five interceptions on defense.
-- Mike Bakas, TheInsiders.com
Four-star RB taking visits, changing others
Barrington Edwards is one of the nation's top running backs. He is a member of the BorderWars 101 Team and a four star prospect by TheInsidersRecruiting.com. He was scheduled to make a visit to Athens, Ga., this weekend for a visit to Georgia for the game against Georgia Tech, but he is going to re-schedule his official.
"No, I didn't get to go down there," said Edwards. "I am going to reschedule the visit to Georgia for the end of December or for January. I went to LSU last weekend. Tiger Stadium is as loud as they say. I can definitely picture LSU as a place I would want to play. I'm going to USC next weekend; man did they do a number on Notre Dame yesterday."
"Things are pretty much the same as far as my favorites go. I'm going to take my time and kind of see how things shake out with some guys leaving early for the NFL or what not. I figure by January, there will be a perfect place for me."
Several schools around the nation are hoping that they have the perfect situation for Edwards.
-- Scott Kennedy, BorderWars.com