Is the NCAA picking on the Junior College Athlete?
A class-action lawsuit has been filed by a group of two-year college football players which names the California State University system and several other institutions as defendants. The lawsuit centers on the more stringent requirements that were set out by the NCAA Division I in 2009. The rules that were adopted in 2009 stated that athletes from two-year institutions would be required to have transferable English and math credit hours in order to become eligible for practice, competition, and athletic aid at four-year institutions (Sander, 2011).
At the NCAA Convention, held in January 2011, the Division II President’s Council sponsored a proposal that was adopted by the Convention which stated that transfer students from two-year colleges must complete six credit hours of English and three credit hours of math at their respective two-year colleges in order to be eligible. Remedial courses in English and math will not satisfy the requirement (NCAA.org, 2011).
The lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit, Reginald Davis, a student at the City College of San Francisco, claims that the NCAA’s two-year college rules provide a climate of “disparate treatment” in the awarding of athletic scholarships. Additionally, the plaintiffs claim that the requirements make it more difficult to transfer to Division I programs and force student-athletes to remain at their two-year institutions for longer periods of time (Sander, 2011).
The NCAA tightened the rules to clamp down on student-athletes who were using the junior college route as a way to bypass minimum SAT score requirements for initial athletic eligibility at a four year school. The NCAA reacted to complaints that in some instances semi-literate student-athletes were being admitted to school when they were unprepared to perform college level academic work.
The NCAA’s rules are not unreasonable. English and math are integral parts of the general education core, which is central to the two-year college educational experience and is essential in preparing students to transfer to a four-year college. Additionally, as English and math courses are typically less difficult at two-year colleges, it behooves student-athletes to complete those courses and get them out of the way before they head to four-year schools where the pressure to compete both athletically and academically is far greater than at two-year institutions.
- NCAA (2011). Division II legislative actions. Retrieved on March 31, 2011 from http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Latest+News/2011/January/Division+II+legislative+actions
- Sander, L. (2011). Junior-College athletes sue NCAA over transfer rules. Retrieved on April 1, 2011 from https://chronicle.com/blogs/players/junior-college-athletes-sue-ncaa-over-transfer-rules/28270
Dr. Craig Bogar
Dr. Bogar is the Dean of Student Services for the United States Sports Academy. He has served as director of athletics for the University of Mobile and Loyola University of New Orleans, and has coached track and swimming.