Friday, November 21, 2003

Athletics and grade inflation 

Suppose we want more student-athletes to graduate on time. One way to do this, which the NCAA now plans, is to place sanctions such as lost scholarships or prohibition on post-season play for programs that do not graduate enough students. You would think, of course, that this would mean we would also want to have student-athletes better prepared for college than before as well. But no, we can't do that, because those test scores that were used for old NCAA plans like Prop 48 and Prop 16 are discriminatory. So along with requiring higher graduation rates,
In October 2002 the board approved a set of rules changes that let freshman athletes play if they have SAT scores as low as 400 or an ACT sum score of 37, the minimum possible, provided they have a correspondingly high grade-point average in 14 basic high school courses, up from the previous 13 core courses. In 2008 the number of required courses will rise to 16.
So what can we expect? Grade inflation, and a flocking of student-athletes to non-rigorous majors. And, in an attempt in my opinion to stop middling athletic programs from expanding and competing for championships, the rules would cut back on transfer students from junior colleges by having degree completion targets for junior and senior players. And meanwhile, the programs that do well enough for their players to jump to professional sports without graduating would no longer have those incomplete degrees count against them. The NCAA: Once a cartel, always a cartel.