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NCAA adopts ‘historic’ legislation

November 1, 2011
NIU President John G. Peters

NIU President John G. Peters

The 18-member NCAA Division I Board of Directors adopted a package of proposals Thursday that toughen academic standards and provide increased academic and economic support to student-athletes.

Northern Illinois University President John Peters, who represents the Mid-American Conference on the board, said the reforms will give conferences the option of adding more money to scholarship offers and schools the opportunity to award scholarships for multiple years.

The legislation will also impose tougher academic standards on recruits and change the summer basketball recruiting model.

“This legislation is truly historic,” Peters said. “Student-athlete success is our first priority with an eye on the end goal of graduating students. This package is among the first steps in furthering the collegiate model in which athletics is embedded in the values of higher education including shared responsibility and accountability.”

The most visible reform is the measure allowing conferences to vote on providing student-athletes up to $2,000 toward full cost-of-attendance.

Along with this measure, the board of directors passed a plan to phase in new four-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) requirements, which raise the APR cutline from 900 to 930 and link that cutline to eligibility for postseason play.

“The NCAA model needed to be changed,” Peters said. “The increased assistance to student-athletes recognizes the incidental educational costs above tuition and fees, room and board and books, while increasing emphasis on academic performance in terms of both APR and initial eligibility for high school recruits and transfer students.”

Under the new NCAA plan, conferences can vote to add $2,000 in “full cost-of-attendance” money to scholarship offers. Additionally, individual schools can choose to award multi-year scholarships which may not be revoked based on athletic performance.

Schools that fail to meet the Academic Progress Rate cutline (which will be increased from 900 to 930 over four years) will be ineligible for postseason play, including bowl games.

Eligibility requirements increased from a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 to 2.3 for incoming freshman and a 2.5 GPA for junior college transfers.

For basketball recruiting, the NCAA added four coaches evaluation days in April, which was previously a dead period. However, the board reduced the number of days that coaches could evaluate recruits in the month of July from 20 days to 12.