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  • NCAA lets schools know if they're making the grade

    Feb. 15, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Schools will begin receiving information from the NCAA about their teams' academic performance within the next week, a move that could lead to some schools losing scholarships next fall.

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    The reports will be made available to the public on Feb. 28.

    NCAA officials said Tuesday they believe about 20 percent of men's basketball teams and 30 percent of football teams risk immediate penalties based on data collected from the 2003-04 school year. But penalties will not be imposed until after officials collect data from 2004-05.

    "I think the vast majority of those at risk will be so far under the cutlines, that it will be a no-brainer," said Wally Renfro, senior adviser to President Myles Brand.

    The penalties are a component in the NCAA's latest academic reform movement, which is based on a new points system that measures the retention and graduation rates of each team.

    An athlete receives one point per semester or quarter for remaining eligible and another point each term for staying in school. The formula will not penalize schools for students who remain academically eligible before transferring, something that count against universities when federal graduation rates are calculated.

    The system also rewards schools for accepting transfers who graduate -- something federal guidelines do not count.

    The NCAA will then calculate each team's total score and divide the number by the most possible points to produce a percentage. A perfect score would translate to 1,000 points, and any team with fewer than 925 points -- equivalent to about a 50 percent graduation rate -- could lose scholarships.

    But because next year's equations are based on only two years of data, rather than the preferred four years, the NCAA also will have a small-squad adjustment formula that could help some teams avoid immediate punishment even if their total score falls below the cutline.

    NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon said that part of the equation was added to avoid anomalies for teams with fewer athletes. Todd Petr, the NCAA's managing director of research, said the adjustment would be calculated like the margin of error in a presidential poll.

    Lennon also insisted schools still had time to change their numbers before next fall.

    "Things can be done right now to avoid these penalties," he said. "But you may have a team that has 80 players and a score of 900 with a different boundary than a team of five at 900."

    Schools could not lose more than 10 percent of scholarships allowed by the NCAA in any one year in each sport. The loss would be for just one year at a time.


    But if the academic numbers don't improve, schools could face more severe sanctions such as scholarship and recruiting restrictions as well as postseason bans. The bans likely would not go into effect until 2008-09.

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    "The goal is not to crush a program, it is to change behavior over time," Renfro said. "But if you're living life in the danger zone, it will only be a matter of time till you get in trouble and then the penalties will be real and severe."

    Schools also could ask for waivers.

    That process, Lennon said, is still being created, but factors such as a school's mission statement could be considered in reducing a punishment.

    Still, NCAA officials hope the reforms will help improve graduation rates and make athletic departments and coaches more accountable for the academic performance of athletes.

    "We're trying to be fair, but I don't think a school can take a lot of satisfaction or comfort knowing that there's a snake in the grass ready to bite," Renfro said.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    NCAA gets serious about school -- and some will pay
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 14, 2005
    By Dennis Dodd
    SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!


    Might as well beat the NCAA to publicly outing these major-college football programs.


    Mack Brown's record at Texas: 70 wins, 19 losses, 27 percent graduation rate. (Getty Images)
    Minnesota. Houston. Texas. Utah.

    The Association would have us believe all of the above are about to be put on double-secret probation. Or something close to it. The NCAA basically said so this week when it got to the heart of the matter of academic performance. Fall below a 50 percent graduation rate, and programs could lose scholarships, postseason berths and, worst case, NCAA membership.

    How's that feel, Flubbed Four? Embarrassed enough? All four of those programs graduated no more than 40 percent of their players -- oops, sorry, student-athletes -- according the latest grad rates. The NCAA already has said 30 percent of I-A falls below its new Academic Performance Rate (APR) standard that approximates those current NCAA grad rates.

    Those four might or might not be in that group when warnings are issued sometime soon, but their recent track record isn't good. And there will be more.

    Later this month or early February, the NCAA will start sending out letters to schools that fall below the APR cut line of 925 (approximately 50 percent). By 2006, offenders could start losing scholarships (up to 10 percent in each sport).

    Then a postseason ban. Imagine Texas being told it can't go bowling.

    The next punishment stage is essentially a new version of the NCAA's death penalty -- loss of membership.

    "We're talking about rather strong penalties here," NCAA president Myles Brand said, adding, "We're talking about the level of major infraction penalties."

    And it might just work. For once, the NCAA has some legislation with teeth -- or at least the red-cheek factor. If nothing else, the "offenders" will be chagrined. The NCAA plans a very public process in notifying and penalizing schools that fall below 925.

    The idea being: Imagine Texas letting things slip to a postseason ban. Supposedly, it won't.

    Schools' grad rates will be tracked term-by-term, year-by-year instead of the antiquated federally mandated six-year window, which was akin to looking at a distant star. Sometimes many coaches, presidents and athletic directors ago.

    The APR is more accurate in that it takes into account transfers going in and out of the program who leave in good academic standing.

    But for now, the old antiquated system is all we have to go on, which is why the four schools were selected for this mini-public flogging. According to the NCAA, 27 percent of the Texas freshman football players entering school in 1997-98...
    -01-18-2005, 06:00 PM
  • DJRamFan
    ACC wants to give players another year to complete degrees
    by DJRamFan
    July 28, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Atlantic Coast Conference has proposed making football players eligible to compete for five years, saying the extra season might allow some students to get their degrees rather than leave school early.

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    The NCAA will vote on the proposal no earlier than April 2005, said Shane Lyons, the ACC's associate commissioner.

    "Many students who have exhausted eligibility have to make a decision about whether they pursue their professional or athletic career without getting their education," Lyons said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We believe it's more likely that student athletes will return if they still have that eligibility."

    The ACC, which proposed the rule to the NCAA earlier this month, suggested that the NCAA eliminate redshirt seasons, when players are on the team but don't play. A redshirt season does not count toward eligibility.

    About 70 percent of college football players are redshirted, Lyons said.

    The proposal shouldn't increase costs because the scholarship limit will remain at 85, he said. "The pool of athletes may be around a year longer than they are now," he said.

    The average student, not just one who plays sports, takes 4.8 years to graduate, said Lyons, citing an NCAA study. In addition, the NCAA's new academic standards are based on five years for a degree, he said.

    The National Association of Basketball Coaches has proposed similar legislation for men's and women's basketball players. The American Football Coaches Association has supported the legislation for several years, Lyons said.


    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -07-29-2004, 10:18 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA willing to bend rules in wake of hurricane
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 31, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA wants university officials and student-athletes to focus on recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina rather than worry about infractions, schedule changes or travel restrictions.

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    To help, college athletics' governing body may temporarily adjust some of its most restrictive rules.

    Steve Mallonee, the NCAA's managing director for membership services, said Wednesday the NCAA is willing to give athletes and universities more latitude to travel, provide more benefits to athletes' families and even allow students to compete without attending classes because of the storm that devastated the Gulf Coast.

    "Any rule that can negatively impact an institution or the student-athletes, I think we'll be proactive in," Mallonee told the Associated Press. "The message we'd like is that we have a process that can and will be flexible to any of our institutions that are impacted."

    Other potential changes include moving games to different venues, extending seasons, and possibly allowing athletes' families to stay on campuses.

    In past years, schools have postponed or canceled games because of hurricanes and other inclement weather. The NCAA allowed some games to be rescheduled, and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the nation's college games were postponed -- and most were rescheduled.

    Still, the NCAA has a reputation for its rigid stances. The 2003 men's and women's basketball tournaments were not delayed by the start of the Iraq war, the 1981 NCAA championship was played the night President Reagan was shot and some people have complained the organization is prone to following the letter of its voluminous rule book rather than the intent.

    But, the NCAA has never faced anything like this.

    Experts predict it could take months for some areas, including New Orleans, to recover. Classes could be canceled -- making athletes at those schools ineligible under NCAA rules -- while other schools may want to use football stadiums or basketball arenas as relief centers.

    That could force games to be canceled or moved.

    The NCAA hopes a more flexible approach will give schools an opportunity to help communities, allow athletes to assist family and friends and compete on the playing field.

    "The first priority of those schools caught in Katrina's path is the students, staff and families who have been put in harm's way," president Myles Brand said in a statement. "It is too early to say what the exact solutions will be, but the national office will work to accommodate these unique and unfortunate circumstances."

    The impact of the rules changes could be felt from coast to coast. ...
    -09-01-2005, 07:30 PM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA bans Indian mascots, 'abusive' nicknames from postseason
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 5, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    INDIANAPOLIS -- Fed up with what it considers "hostile" and "abusive" American Indian nicknames, the NCAA announced Friday it would shut those words and images out of postseason tournaments, a move that left some school officials angry and threatening legal action.

    COMMENTARY
    NCAA takes a stand that isn't much of one
    by Dennis Dodd

    What's Your Take?
    Tell Dennis your opinion!


    Starting in February, any school with a nickname or logo considered racially or ethnically "hostile" or "abusive" by the NCAA would be prohibited from using them in postseason events. Mascots will not be allowed to perform at tournament games, and band members and cheerleaders will also be barred from using American Indians on their uniforms beginning in 2008.

    Major college football teams are not subject to the ban because there is no official NCAA tournament.

    Affected schools were quick to complain, and Florida State -- home of the Seminoles -- threatened legal action.

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    "That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole people as culturally 'hostile and abusive' is both outrageous and insulting," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said in a statement.

    "I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," he added.

    The committee also recommended that schools follow the examples of Wisconsin and Iowa by refusing to schedule contests against schools that use American Indian nicknames.

    While NCAA officials admit they still can't force schools to change nicknames or logos, they are making a statement they believe is long overdue. Eighteen mascots, including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini, were on the list of offenders.

    Those schools will not be permitted to host future NCAA tournament games, and if events have already been awarded to those sites, the school must cover any logos or nicknames that appear.

    "Certainly some things remain to be answered from today, and one of those things is the definition of what is 'hostile or abusive,"' said Tom Hardy, a spokesman at Illinois....
    -08-08-2005, 07:25 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA considers basketball plans, initially OKs 12th football game
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 9, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    GRAPEVINE, Texas -- While most of the proposals from basketball coaches seeking more access to players and prospects will get further consideration from the NCAA, they are a long way from gaining final approval.

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    "The details are in place," NCAA Division I vice president David Berst said Sunday. "Work has to be done in trust-gap issues. That is the impediment we need to overcome."

    Berst said coaches still have to convince many administrators and faculty that the purpose of their proposals is to have more mentoring opportunities with players, and isn't just a way to gain more practice time.

    "If this had been the final vote, I believe it would have failed," Berst said. "It runs to the lack of trust, and whether coaches are sincere in their claims."

    The 44 proposals from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Womens Basketball Coaches Association were among 146 for various sports considered Sunday by the NCAA Division I Management Council.

    The council gave initial approval to making permanent a 12th football game each season for Division I and I-AA teams, something that couldn't take effect before the 2006 season. There was little discussion of that issue.

    Schools are now allowed 12th games only in seasons when there are 14 Saturdays between Labor Day weekend and the last weekend in November. The 2003 season qualified for additional games, but the next won't come until 2008.

    All issues forwarded by the management council Sunday are subject to open comment over the next 60 days. The council meets again in April, when it reconsiders the proposals before deciding whether to forward them to the NCAA Board of Directors for final approval.

    Since becoming NCAA president two years ago, Myles Brand had urged basketball coaches to get involved with trying to correct what they considered problems.

    That led to the package of proposals from the NABC and WABC. Many of the ideas are designed to allow more access to players and signees, including the ability to work with players during the offseason and to observe voluntary, non-organized activities like pickup games.

    The coaches also sought some recruiting changes.

    "The backbone of what they wanted is still in place," said America East Conference commissioner Chris Monasch, the chairman of the Management Council.

    Monasch said a "significant portion" of the council's daylong meeting was spent on the basketball proposals. He said some were initially turned down, but were revived and forwarded after further discussion.

    The council, however, denied a proposal to permit additional benefits to men's basketball players such as occasional...
    -01-10-2005, 07:21 AM
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