Passing the NCAA TEST- as reported in NY Daily News
NY DAILY NEWS posted 11/28/2007 7:37:26 AM
Passing the NCAA Test
Wednesday, November 21st 2007, 4:00 AM
(Page 1 of 2)
What exactly does a high-schooler have to do to stay eligible to play a Division I sport? Here's a look:
HIGH SCHOOL CLASSWORK
TAKE 16 CORE COURSES
Players should first get an NCAA list of approved courses (Form 48H). Every high school has its own list of classes that are considered core courses by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Players must have at least 16 core courses on their transcripts. The aggregate GPA of those cores must be at least a 2.0. That's a player's "core GPA."
TAKE THE RIGHT COURSES
Core courses come from five different groups: math, English, natural/physical science, social science, or additional courses (foreign language or religion survey). Transcripts must show the following breakdown of core courses:
4 units of English
3 units of math
2 units of natural/physical science
1 units of additional English, math, or science
2 units of social science
4 units of any of the above or additional courses
The best bet, according to American Christian coach Tony Bergeron, is to overload on core courses as underclassmen, then cruise to graduation.
"I'd tell kids to take 15 cores by their senior year," he said. "Make it easy on yourself later."
A player needs a qualifying SAT/ACT score to enter college. The NCAA only includes the critical reading and math sections in its score, so a student's writing score doesn't count.
This all operates on a sliding scale: the higher a players core GPA, the lower he must score on the SAT/ACT and vice versa.
A player with a 2.0 core GPA needs a 1010 SAT score. A player with a 3.5 core GPA needs just a 420 on his SATs. For every .025 increase in a student's Core GPA, he can score ten points less on his SATs.
GET INFO TO NCAA
SAT and ACT scores must be reported directly to the Clearinghouse; the information cannot go from the high school to the Clearinghouse, or from the university to the Clearinghouse. That means athletes must file the proper code on their SAT test to make sure their results go directly to the Clearinghouse.
Most ballers in the Class of 2008 believe they'll make the grade, but invariably, a handful won't. Prep school is no longer the viable option it was in the past, but players do have alternatives.
Before the rise of prep programs, junior college was the prime option for academically ineligible hoopsters. With preps out of the picture, many see JUCOs rising again.
"That's what will happen," says Christ the King's Oliva. "It'll be like it was 10 years ago."
For some, JUCOs provide a better alternative. They experience the college atmosphere, and they get to play as freshmen. After two years in junior college, they can head to Division I schools, although each year spent at a JUCO costs them a year of eligibility.
Players also leave junior college with an associate's degree, so even if their hoops career dies, they've snared something.
Implemented in 1986, Proposition 48 allows ineligible athletes to attend Division I schools as freshmen, but the athletes cannot play sports. They work toward correcting their eligibility.
There are two catches. Prop 48 athletes lose a year of athletic eligibility as freshmen. And they are not on scholarship; they must pay their way until they gain proper academic standing.
One Atlantic 10 assistant believes local schools like St. John's may rebuild around Prop 48 athletes. The Red Storm is an attractive option for local talents who can't make the grade - and can't afford to go away.
"If they stay home," says the assistant, "they can go to school, but live at home, eat at home. St. John's might welcome them in."
According to Lennon, the NCAA realizes that not all players will meet the Clearinghouse's new requirements. Some may meet the old requirements and what Lennon calls "the spirit" of the new ones.
For those student-athletes, the NCAA has instituted a waiver policy. The student-athlete can't initiate this process; it has to be requested by the college that wants to grant a scholarship.
Lennon says the NCAA will review every waiver it receives.
"We're looking for things like grade trending," he says. "Did their grades improve every year? And how did their grades compare with their SAT scores?"
If the NCAA deems the athlete ready for college, the governing body may essentially waive the core-course requirement, permitting the player to receive a scholarship. Lennon says the NCAA has had waivers for a number of years. The Clearinghouse does anticipate a spike in waiver requests this year, but it hopes to see a reduction thereafter.
For more information, visit www.ncaaclearinghouse.net