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August 17, 2011 - Students in the game

An editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer supports the NCAA's recent adoption of a Knight Commission recommendation to tie postseason eligibility of all Division I athletic teams to minimum academic performance standards.  A clip of the editorial is below:

 

"The tension between universities' academic mission and major athletics programs often boils down to a question of double standards.

... If a university intends to field a football team, there must be enough students enrolled who are capable of playing. But let the standards slip often or far enough, and a school can earn a reputation as a "football factory," say, that's hard to shake.

Then, once student-athletes are on campus, comes the effort to make sure they get acceptable grades. Will it mean that the fellow who electrifies the stadium on Saturday with his touchdowns also does the same kind of coursework that regular students must do? Or will allowances be made?

Reformers years ago began trying to prevent universities from letting student-athletes skate by without meeting standards that applied to other students. Prominent in that effort was the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, co-chaired by William Friday, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina system.

Now a major Knight Commission recommendation has borne fruit. The NCAA, which sets the rules for intercollegiate athletics, last week agreed that unless at least half the players on a team are on track to graduate, the team won't be eligible for post-season play.

...Schools must resist the temptation to further water down their standards just so more players can remain on the graduation track."

For the complete editorial, link here.