Last week in Buffalo, New York the annual convention was held of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics. A reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education reported hearing informal comments from attendees such as, “I feel guilty even being here.” “I know. I haven’t checked grades in two days.”
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is an organization created by colleges over 100 years ago in an effort to avoid federal government interference amid a growing number of serious injuries related to football. It was given regulatory powers regarding playing rules, eligibility, championship competitions, etc. After World War II, as college sports became more popular and television began to look to college sports for programming, the NCAA established, the first comprehensive recruiting rules.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been grappling for over 50 years with the minimum requirements for first-year student-athletes who want to compete in big-time college sports. Part of this struggle has involved efforts to avoid complaints that standards were unfairly penalizing minority student-athletes. In its ongoing efforts to ensure that student-athletes enroll in college with the necessary academic background needed to successfully complete college coursework the NCAA has vacillated between lowering and raising its standards.
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).
During a press conference held on March 7 at Ohio State University officials confirmed what media outlets such as Yahoo.Sports and USA Today had already reported. Jim Tressel, the highly successful coach of the Buckeyes’ prominent football team, had misled officials for months by not revealing information he possessed about the involvement of Buckeye football players in selling signed memorabilia to a person with a criminal past who then sold the items on Ebay. In addition to receiving cash, the players also were given free tattoos at a local parlor.
The NCAA Division 1 Cabinet met in Indianapolis this past week and adopted a set of recommendations concerning student-athletes who wind up attending a junior college out of high school due to initial eligibility problems. The proposals are generally seen as sweeping in nature and the Cabinet is looking for feedback from member schools on this legislative package.