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NCAA requirements to toughen

Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 by NYDailynews

New NCAA rules will require incoming athletes to meet higher academic standards to play a Division I sport in college

College sports governing body raises minimum GPA, SAT score for current high school freshmen

Wednesday, November 23 2011, 8:09 PM

 
High school athletes who dream of playing college sports will have to bring their ‘A’ games into the classroom if they are going to meet new academic standards the NCAA put into place for the class of 2015.
MICHAEL DWYER/AP
High school athletes who dream of playing college sports will have to bring their ‘A’ games into the classroom if they are going to meet new academic standards the NCAA put into place for the class of 2015.
Under current initial eligibility requirements, a student who graduates from high school with a 2.0 GPA can be academically eligibile to play a Division I sport in college. When they’re ready to begin college, in 2015, current high school freshmen will need a minimum GPA of 2.3, with  a 1,000 on the SAT.
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Under current initial eligibility requirements, a student who graduates from high school with a 2.0 GPA can be academically eligibile to play a Division I sport in college. When they’re ready to begin college, in 2015, current high school freshmen will need a minimum GPA of 2.3, with a 1,000 on the SAT.

High school athletes who want to accept a Division I scholarship and play a sport in college may have to start hitting the books harder if they are going to meet more stringent academic standards recently adopted by the NCAA.

The new initial eligibility requirements, adopted last month by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, apply to the class of 2015 and beyond. To obtain athletic eligibility out of high school, students will need a minimum GPA of 2.3. The current minimum is 2.0.

Students also may need to score higher on the SAT. Currently, students with a core GPA of 2.5 need to score at least 820 on the SAT (combined math and critical reading sections) to be eligible. Under the new plan, students with a 2.5 core GPA would need to score at least a 1,000.

The changes come at a time when Education Department officials have acknowledged that just 25% of students who graduated from city high schools this year were qualified for college-level classes. The city’s college enrollment rate stands at 46% of graduates, the Daily News reported last month.

Francis Lewis HS in Queens, among the city’s most academically successful large high schools, graduated 88% of its students in June, but only 52% of those graduates had scored well enough on their Regents exams to be considered college-ready.

Some say the NCAA eligibility changes will have a dramatic impact on local athletes, particularly since it will widen the gap between what’s required of them to graduate from high school and what they’ll need to do in order to be NCAA-eligible.

To maintain athletic eligibility, students who attend New York City public schools need pass only four credit-bearing subjects and physical education in the marking period closest to Dec. 1 or April 15, and at least two of the four subjects passed must be “major” subjects (English, math, social studies, foreign language or science).

A student who barely meets those requirements would easily earn a high school diploma, but that student would have little hope of playing in college.

“The NCAA is setting the bar higher,” said South Shore girls basketball coach Anwar Gladden. “At the same time, this is a chance for you to get a free education, so you need to raise your standards as well.”

Boys & Girls HS principal Bernard Gassaway, who raised his own school’s standards over the summer, says he’d like to see the PSAL follow the NCAA’s lead.“If they’re courageous, it will happen,” Gassaway said. “It’s something they will receive a tremendous amount of pushback (on) from certain entities. But to me it just makes sense.”

Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg would not say whether the PSAL was considering such changes.

The NCAA also mandated that students must pass 10 of the 16 required core courses prior to the seventh semester of high school in order for him or her to compete in their first year at college. That means students can’t cruise through the first part of their high school career and load up on required courses at the end.

Understanding the guidelines is complicated. Lincoln HS athletic director Renan Ebeid said she wishes coaches received more education regarding NCAA standards. Lincoln has an academic coach to help student-athletes prepare for college, Ebeid said, but many city schools do not.

Ebeid thinks it is important for schools to identify promising athletes earlier and help them understand the eligibility process sooner. She also believes the PSAL will eventually adjust its standards to match what’s required from the NCAA.

“It will definitely raise a flag for (the PSAL) to increase its requirements,” Ebeid said.

Meanwhile, Gassaway said he expects debate to circle around several issues, mostly the notion that high school students won’t attend school if they can’t play sports, a type of chicken and egg dilemma that he feels holds no merit.

Either way, Gassaway feels the NCAA is making the right move by increasing its academic standards. Now he’d like to see his own league do the same.

“I applaud the NCAA,” Gassaway said. “Now that they’ve sent that signal, the PSAL needs to take the lead.”

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