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Higher N.C.A.A. Standards May Be Delayed

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High school students who hope to play intercollegiate sports but are worried about the higher academic-eligibility standards that are scheduled to take effect next August may get a reprieve.

At a meeting last week, a special committee formed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to review the standards said it would recommend changes in the controversial standards and seek a delay in implementing them.

The committee will also recommend that the current standards, known as Proposition 48, remain in effect until August 1996.

Raising the Standards

Details about the recommended changes will be released this month when the N.C.A.A. Presidents Commission meets.

The N.C.A.A. adopted Proposition 48 in 1983 in an attempt to address complaints that some university- and college-sports programs were more interested in recruiting talented athletes than in promoting education for young men and women.

In January 1992, the N.C.A.A. adopted the tougher eligibility requirements.

Under Proposition 48, student-athletes are required to have a 2.0 grade-point average in 11 core academic courses. Students also must have scored 700 or higher on the Scholastic Assessment Test or 17 on the American College Testing exam to qualify for an athletic scholarship and to play and practice during their freshman year in college.

The new rules--or Proposition 16--would raise the requisite G.P.A. to 2.5 in 13 core courses.

However, opponents have attacked the standards, claiming that they will have an unfair impact on minority students. (See Education Week, Jan. 19, 1994.)

Critics also contend that high school students do not understand the criteria.

"We reviewed the research on the impact of these standards and the level of understanding among high school students, coaches, and counselors and agreed unanimously that some adjustments needed to be made,'' said William DeLauder, the president of Delaware State University and the committee co-chairman.

"We worked hard to balance the goals of increasing graduation rates and providing access to higher education for disadvantaged students,'' Mr. DeLauder said. "I believe our recommendations balance these two aims.''

If the Presidents Commission and the N.C.A.A. Council, which meets in August, agree to the changes, they will be presented to the group's members for a vote at the annual convention in January.

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