Broncos Athletics

NCAA Board Gives Final Approval to New Academic Standards

Oct. 31, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A package of reform measures designed to improve the graduation rates of Division I student-athletes received final approval today by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors. The Board also reiterated its support for additional proposals currently under review that will continue the academic reform movement.

"What impressed this Board about the proposals that have been under consideration for months now are two points," said Robert Hemenway, Board chair and chancellor of the University of Kansas. "One, they are informed by the best research we've ever had, and two, they fit together as a package to increase academic standards and progress towards a degree."

Hemenway noted that the package of proposals creates models or academic profiles that prospects and enrolled student-athletes must meet to earn the privilege of participating in intercollegiate athletics.

"We aren't guessing at what the results from these standards will be," he said. "If you continue to meet the academic profile in your first, second, third, fourth and fifth year, you will be on track to graduate. If you don't meet the academic profile, you won't be participating in college sports."

Included in the reform package are proposals that would:

  • Increase the number of high-school core courses required by prospects to participate in sports as a freshman from 13 to 14, would maintain the requirement for a 2.000 grade-point average in core courses, and would extend the sliding-scale relationship between standardized test scores and core-course GPA by eliminating the minimum test score currently in place.

  • Require (1) 24 semester hours of academic credit before the student-athlete enters his or her second year of collegiate enrollment; (2) 18 semester hours per academic year; and (3) six hours of academic credit per term. (Proposal No. 02-23)

  • Require that student-athletes achieve 90 percent of the minimum cumulative grade-point average necessary for graduation by the start of the second year of enrollment, and that the standard increase to 95 percent by the beginning of the third year and 100 percent by the beginning of the fourth year and thereafter. (Proposal 02-24-B as amended by 02-24-B-2). The proposal would also increase the minimum percentage of degree requirements a student-athlete must satisfy to be eligible for competition from 25/50/75 to 40/60/80 (for student-athletes in five-year degree programs, the increase would be from 20/40/60 to 33/50/67). [Note: The Board also directed the Management Council to develop legislation that would require institutions to verify eligibility at the end of each term. The proposal as passed requires verification only once a year at the beginning of the fall term.]

  • Hold two-year college transfers who were partial qualifiers or nonqualifiers to the same percentage degree requirements as those who enroll in four-year institutions as freshmen. (Proposal 02-25)

  • Reduce the number of credits in remedial, tutorial or noncredit course work that may be used to satisfy the minimum academic progress requirement from 12 semester hours to six semester hours. (Proposal 02-26)

    The Board also reviewed proposals that received first approval by the Division I Management Council a week ago that will continue the reform effort. These proposals will go out to the Division I membership for comment and be considered again by the Council in April 2003. Included in the package are proposals that would:

  • Require prospects to meet initial-eligibility standards in effect at the time of initial college enrollment rather than those in effect at the time of high-school graduation. (Proposal 02-67)

  • Permit learning-disabled student-athletes to earn a fourth season of competition provided they complete 80 percent (rather than 75 percent) of their degree program by the start of year five. (Proposal 02-69)

  • Require all currently enrolled student-athletes to earn six credit hours per term effective after the Fall 2003 academic term. (Proposal 02-70)

  • Require graduate students who are still competing to complete six hours per term. (Proposal 02-66)

  • Permit two-year college transfers who were qualifiers to be eligible if they (1) present a cumulative grade-point average of 2.000 and (2) satisfactorily complete 12 semester hours of credit per term of enrollment. (Proposal 02-69)

    "What we did today and what we have before us to do doesn't mean that our work is finished," Hemenway said. "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 as we strive to ever more accurately judge whom among those who participate in our athletics programs actually graduate. We are looking at an annual academic progress rate so that we don't have to wait the six years now built into the U.S. Department of Education survey of graduation rates."

    Hemenway also noted that work is in progress for a set of incentives and disincentives that will reward or penalize institutions for meeting or failing to meet expectations developed through the reform proposals.

    The proposals approved by Board today will take effect August 1, 2003