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N.C.A.A. Votes To Relax Student-Aid Restriction

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association last week voted overwhelmingly to allow incoming student-athletes to receive financial aid based on their family income, even if they do not meet academic requirements for an athletic scholarship.

The vote, at the ncaa's annual convention in Dallas, ended the controversy sparked last year when the convention passed Proposition 42, which was to take effect Aug. 1.

That rule would have barred all institutional aid to incoming student-athletes who did not have a 2.0 grade-point average in 11 core high-school subjects, plus a score of at least 700 (out of 1600) on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or 15 (out of 36) on the American College Testing exam.

Critics, led by Georgetown University's basketball coach, John Thompson, charged that the mea4sure would deny many minority athletes the opportunity to attend college by making them ineligible for athletic scholarships and other institutional aid. (See Education Week, Jan. 25, 1989.)

The convention voted 258 to 66 to rescind the portion of Proposition 42 that outlaws institutional aid to freshman athletes who do not meet the academic eligibility rules.

Under the new rule, freshmen failing to meet the academic requirements still will not be eligible for an athletic scholarship, and may not participate in their sports for a year.

The convention voted down a measure to rescind Proposition 42 entirely. That measure would have allowed the so-called "partial qualifiers'' to remain eligible for athletic scholarships. Now they will only be allowed to receive institutional aid based on their family's income.

The convention's action was viewed by many as a satisfactory solution to the controversy that raged the past year over Proposition 42.

"The modification is a movement in the correct direction," said Dallas Martin, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. "We have been concerned that a needy student, whether he be an athlete or not, be treated equitably for aid."

The convention also passed several other reform-minded proposals. The governing body voted to expand drug testing for the nation's major college-football programs and to stiffen the penalties for violations; to shorten the basketball season and spring football practice; and to disclose the graduation rates for student-athletes at its member schools.--mw

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