The Division I Academic Cabinet wants feedback on a legislative package for the 2011-12 cycle that strengthens requirements for two-year college transfers and provides an opportunity for prospects who need an academic boost to serve a “year of academic readiness” without losing a season of eligibility.
Cabinet members, who met Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis, reviewed significant feedback on concepts the group circulated among the two- and four-year college communities. That input generally supported the changes to 2-4 transfer regulations.
It also inspired the cabinet to tweak some of its original ideas. For example, the cabinet will consider increasing the transferable-credit grade-point average from 2.0 to 2.25. In the original concepts developed last fall, the cabinet supported an increase to a 2.5 GPA, but feedback from both the two-year and NCAA communities convinced the cabinet to recommend a more modest increase. The preliminary feedback also pointed out that other components of the package, including the new limits on physical education credits and the addition of a science credit, will affect transferrable GPAs.
The concepts to be considered this spring before the cabinet’s June meeting will differ slightly depending on whether prospects qualify out of high school. To be immediately eligible for competition upon transfer from a two-year institution, qualifiers must:
- Earn a 2.25 GPA in transferrable-credit courses (up from 2.0).
- Transfer only two P.E. activity credits (currently only men’s basketball players are subject to this limitation).
- Meet all other current requirements for immediate competition upon transfer.
Nonqualifiers out of high school would also be required to meet the increased GPA requirement for competition, though they could qualify for aid and practice with a 2.0 GPA in transferrable courses, provided they meet all other transfer requirements. Nonqualifiers would also be subject to the P.E. limits and would be required to earn three transferable science credits in addition to the already required three in math and six in English. Data show that successful completion of a college level science course is predictive of future academic success.
All other requirements for nonqualifiers (including earning a two-year degree and attending at least three semesters or four quarters at the two-year college) would remain in place.
As part of the package, the cabinet also would create the opportunity for a “year of academic readiness” that would provide for an additional year at the two-year institution to concentrate on academics. Aid and practice would be allowed (but not competition), and a student-athlete’s five-year clock would be suspended for that year for progress-toward-degree purposes.
The cabinet will also continue to seek feedback on a more solid framework for the year of academic readiness. Current parameters include:
- The program is open to those that the Eligibility Center has certified as nonqualifiers.
- The year of academic readiness must be taken in the first year of enrollment at a two-year institution.
- Student-athletes who use the program must attend the two-year school for five semesters or seven quarters before transferring to a four-year school.
- The three years of enrollment at the two-year institution must be consecutive (existing exceptions would continue).
- In-person recruiting is not permitted until the third year of enrollment at the two-year school.
- Once a student-athlete reaches a four-year institution, he or she has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
- Six years of athletically related financial aid would be permissible over a seven-year period for those who use the program.
The Eligibility Center will also provide some method of tracking those who are using the year of academic readiness, with both the student-athlete and the two-year institution confirming the use of the program in the initial year of enrollment. This tracking method will require prospective student-athletes who might take advantage of the year of academic readiness to register with the Eligibility Center.
The cabinet will seek feedback on an effective date of Aug. 1, 2013, for both the increased standards and the year of academic readiness. The effective date will provide adequate notice to potential two-year college student-athletes and also give the two-year institutions time to prepare for the year of academic readiness concept.
Members of the two-year community who attended the cabinet meeting called the plan “revolutionary” and agreed that it would be a major step in preparing student-athletes to be academically successful. Both the cabinet members and the two-year college officials acknowledged that the plan must be accepted by both communities for it to flourish.
The two-year college officials also complimented the cooperative process that developed the concepts that will lead to legislation later this year and expressed hope that similar processes will be followed in the future.
The cabinet meets again in June to finalize the concepts into legislation for the 2011-12 cycle. First votes on the proposals would take place at the NCAA Convention in January 2012.