The NCAA is threatening to penalize member schools for academic deficiencies. Among the proposals: taking away scholarships and withholding eligibility for post-season play. It’s all aimed at improving graduation rates — especially among football and basketball players, especially among blacks.
The proposal is well intentioned, of course, because big time intercollegiate athletics is rife with hypocritical, sham programs where players major in sports eligibility. The devil, however, is in the details, where the calculation of graduation rates is less than precise. For example, how best to factor in transfers and early pro league departures?
Here’s a suggestion. Approach it from the other end. Make athletes meet the same incoming criteria as the student body at large, where high school GPAs and SATs matter more than 40-yd time, bench-press reps, vertical leap, touchdown passes and points-per-game average. Let’s ask “Who’s got grades?” — not “Who’s got game?”
Need remedial help? That’s what high schools and community colleges are for. Need to prep for the NBA and NFL? Try hire ed and go semi-pro — and at least be honest about it.