NCAA Bids to Ease Tough Academic Rule for Recruits

Associated Press

The NCAA Council bowed a bit to the outcry from predominantly black schools Wednesday and recommended lowering the standardized test score needed before a high school athlete can be eligible to compete as a college freshman.

Still not in its final form, the proposal, which came out of the NCAA Council's three-day meeting here, will be refined and presented for a vote by the entire NCAA membership at the annual convention here in January.

NCAA President John R. Davis of Oregon State said he has been appointed by the council to work out the final form of the proposal with Division I Chairman Otis A. Singletary of Kentucky and Presidents' Commission Chairman John W. Ryan of Indiana.

Originally, the tougher academic standards for high school recruits were contained in Proposal 48. Since then, they have been incorporated into NCAA rules as Section 5-1-j.

Under both names, they have been attacked by those who believe standardized tests contain built-in cultural biases and therefore discriminate against blacks.

The softening, Davis said, was due less to the resistance of predominantly black schools than to further research into standardized testing.

"I think it's a recognition of the result of research that showed black students are discriminated against, in that black students who might not test well still perform well in academia--that is they graduate," Davis said.

"We also recognized that . . . black students who do not test well are subjected to lower standards of education in their high schools."

The rough-draft proposal, which imposes a three-year limit on the rollback, establishes a system that permits lower scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test for those with higher grade-point averages in academic subjects.

Instead of having to have both a C average and a 700 score on the SAT, for instance, the council proposes a minimum SAT score as low as 660 if the grade-point average is 2.2 or better, Davis said. With a 1.8 grade-point average in the core curriculum, a student would have to score 740, he said.

"Anything less, the student would not be eligible," he said.

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