Late Bloomers Beware!
The NCAA is moving forward with its new eligibility standards. Incoming freshmen will now have to have a 2.3 g.p.a. in 16 core courses. The 16 core courses include 4 years of English and 3 years of Math, Algebra I or higher.
The current rules require a 2.0 in 13 courses.
Under the new rules, in order to compete as a freshman, 10 of the 16 core courses must be completed in the student athlete's first three years. Core courses taken in the first three years cannot be retaken for a better grade.
The new standards will eliminate some of the temptation to hurriedly get an athlete qualified after he or she shows potential on the court or gridiron. There will be very few opportunities to boost a student's academic average after that student did not perform well early in high school.
It's good, of course, to get rid of the shenanigans employed by sometimes well-meaning, but misguided administrators.
The countervailing argument is, of course, that some athletes get serious about school so they can get an athletic scholarship. Some kids struggle academically during puberty, but get readjusted in the 11th grade. These legitimate late-bloomers may struggle to meet the new standards, and may end up not going to college at all.
Maybe that's the way it is, and maybe that's the way it should be, but the rules will definitely change the college athletics landscape.
According to an NCAA study, 43 percent of men's basketball players and 35 percent of men's football players would not have met the new standards had the rules been implemented for the 2009/2010 school year.
Recruiting is going to get a lot harder for those high school athletes who have the grades and physical ability to perform at a high level. And big schools will be less able to simply out-athlete smaller ones.
Vandy will probably win the SEC in football and basketball.
This could get ugly.