NCAA Pushing For Higher Academic Standards

Being a high school teacher, I am privy to the minimum requirements athletes must maintain in order to compete on sports teams in high school. At the school where I teach, a student athlete must be passing a minimum of five classes to be eligible for competition. Anything less than that and they are ineligible until they meet that requirement; with reassessments occurring weekly. This is a common scenario at many of the high schools in my area.

Some may argue that this is not a high enough expectation for student athletes; however, those same people would likely be shocked regarding the current NCAA fall semester regulation for college athletes. In an article titled NCAA's nine-credit rule change meets resistance at CBSSports.com, Adam Jacobi exposes the current guideline, using football as his medium, that a player must pass six credit hours or face a four-game suspension the following season. Those six credit hours translate into approximately two classes, depending on the credit hours each class is worth.

Seeing this as an issue, the NCAA recently adapted their rules to move from this minimal six credit hours to nine credit hours per fall semester for an athlete to be eligible. This did not sit well with some as the inference in Jacobi’s piece indicated that there are individuals who would likely oppose such a change.

Jacobi supports a change in the system as he goes on to say:

“As long as the schools are the ones handing out scholarships, they should be allowed to act with the schools' core interests in mind, and there is no way that allowing an athlete to earn six credit hours in a semester and then maintain his eligibility unfettered (so long as his grades were in order, of course) going forward is in a school's best interests.”

I don’t know about you but I agree with him and don’t see any “real” issue with upping the standard for college athletes. As far as I am concerned, if they can’t pass nine credit hours in a semester, then they shouldn’t be on the field. College institutions should be encouraging students in that situation to make school a priority, and the NCAA pushing for a change like this only helps that cause.

And personally, as a former college athlete, I might take offense to the statement quoted in Jacobi’s piece by the coach from South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, depending on what he meant by it:

"Hopefully, we'll find a way to make sure they pass the nine hours. That's what you have to do."

What do you think he means by “find a way to make sure they pass?” If that means to get those in need proper help so they can improve on their learning and meet the requirement, then great. However, that is not the impression Jacobi leaves you with in his piece.

When people in a position to make a difference have minimal academic expectations for those under their direction and tutelage, in addition to an imbalance in their sense of priorities, you can expect to get just that from those under their care—the minimum.

Personally, I think the NCAA is on track with their suggestion of moving to a requirement of passing nine credit hours in fall semesters to constitute eligibility for the following season.

It’s a great idea!!!

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