In an April 1 press release, the Drake Group called for major changes to NCAA rules. The Drake Group is a national organization of faculty and others whose mission is to defend academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports.
The press release calls attention to the NCAA’s woeful record on academic success, particularly in the big money sports: football and men’s basketball. The release states, “the NCAA will often tout high graduation rates and academic progress rate (APR) scores as direct evidence that academics are indeed the priority and the end game of athletics is a college degree. Not so. Rather, the evidence is clear that such NCAA claims are nothing more than a smokescreen and public relations ploy to make us all feel good while we watch the March Madness.”
College sports are ripe for reform. If adopted, the Drake Group’s proposals will go a long way to combat the increased commercialization of college athletics and put the “student” back in student-athlete.
The group proposes that the NCAA and universities should:
- Publicly disclose, on an annual basis and within federal privacy guidelines, athletes’ academic majors, advisors, and faculty teaching independent study courses;
- Eliminate athlete only academic support centers run by the athletic department that silo athletes away from the general student body and are more eligibility maintenance driven rather than academically prioritized;
- Provide athletes with guaranteed five-year scholarship that cannot be taken away for an athletics reason;
- Liberalize current transfer policies that penalize athletes who wish to change institutions, including the adoption of a one-time transfer exception for athletes in all sports and no right of refusal by the coach or institution to limit movement of the athlete;
- Require maintenance of a 2.0 overall GPA to be eligible for college sports at all times;
- Mandate an absolute 25 hour limit on all countable athletically related activities without the convenient loopholes the NCAA allows now;
- Eliminate two-semester sports and curtail or eliminate second non-traditional seasons;
- Prohibit the building of lavish facilities for athletes only that only serve as barriers to interacting with non-athlete students and experiencing the richness of a college education;
- Limit athlete eligibility for freshmen who are more than one standard deviation below the academic profile (SAT and GPA) of the incoming freshman class.
Universities and the NCAA must recommit themselves to true amateurism in college sports in order to end athletics deleterious effects on students and the academic environment itself.
More information on the Drake Group’s proposals can be found on their website, here.