NCAA adopts numerous scholarship changes
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The NCAA approved a number of proposals Thursday that will provide increased financial support for scholarship student-athletes and tougher academic standards.
One of the approved financial support proposals gives athletes the possibility of receiving an additional $2,000, while the approved proposals for academic standards apply to current, transfer and prospective student-athletes.
All of the proposals approved by the Division I Board of Directors came amid a concerted effort to make reforms happen quickly.
"These changes demonstrate a remarkable resolve by presidents," said NCAA president Mark Emmert. "They represent a return to and a focus on values that are at the core of what intercollegiate athletics are all about. They also represent a clear signal to the world about what we care about and what we stand for."
In terms of financial matters, the NCAA adopted legislation that gives athletes -- who receive full scholarships -- the opportunity to receive additional aid of $2,000 or up to the full cost of attendance, whichever is less.
"Full cost of attendance" means the amount of money it takes to cover all living expenses, including personal and transportation spending. The proposal was meant to address the miscellaneous expenses student-athletes have.
The NCAA release said schools will not be required to offer the benefit, but conferences are encouraged to consider common application within their membership.
That opens the possibility that larger conferences, like those with automatic berths to Bowl Championship Series football games and which benefit from greater revenue streams, will be able to afford the cost, while smaller conferences might not.
"We commend the NCAA for taking meaningful steps toward college sports reform today," said R. Gerald Turner, co-chairman of the Knight Commission on college athletics and president of Southern Methodist University. "We are pleased to see proposals the commission has championed for many years be embraced as policies to realign college sports with its values."
The $2,000 figure is automatically adjusted for cost-of-living changes, and won't be revisited for three years.
Additionally, the board approved a proposal that will allow schools to give multi-year scholarships. Currently schools give scholarships on a year-by-year basis.
The NCAA said each scholarship should have a minimum value -- which has yet to be determined -- and schools are able to increase the value during the scholarship term.
Also, schools can provide financial aid to former student-athletes who remain at, or return to, the school to finish their degrees.
"We understand the situation of our student-athletes," said Penn State president Graham Spanier, who chaired a working group that examined the issues. "This isn't about paying student-athletes, but it is about being fair and recognizing that in Division I it ought to be important to meet this need. We all have lots of different choices to make, but we felt that these proposals are right for our student-athletes."
As far as academic standards, the board approved a plan to set the minimum academic standard for post-season participation as a 930 Academic Progress Rate (APR).
That figure translates to about a 50-percent graduation success rate.
The system will use 900 as the standard starting in the 2012-13 academic year, and will scale up in the following years. By 2015-16, a 930 rate will be the benchmark.
Failing to meet it means teams won't be able to participate in the postseason and face additional penalties. A new tiered system of penalties ranges from decreased practice time to restricted NCAA membership.
The postseason rule applies to all football bowl games.
Additionally, the NCAA adopted new standards for two-year transfer athletes. The transferable grade-point average (GPA) was raised from 2.0 to 2.5, while transfers can take a limit of two education courses and, if they didn't qualify out of high school, have to complete a core curriculum.
That rule takes effect next August for any athlete enrolling full-time in college for the first time.
The board also set tougher standards for incoming freshmen. In order to compete immediately, they would need to carry a 2.3 GPA and complete 10 of 16 required core courses before the start of the senior years in high school.
That legislation will start to affect student-athletes enrolling in college in August 2015.
10/27 19:20:23 ET