Schools Said Failing To Tell Pupils of N.C.A.A. Rule

By Thomas Toch — April 11, 1984 3 min read

Few high-school principals have taken steps to ensure that their students are aware of the new academic standards for freshmen college athletes passed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association last year, according to a survey by four faculty members at Clemson University.

While 75 percent of the principals from 1,960 randomly selected high schools reported last summer that they were familiar with the new ncaa requirements, only 12.6 percent said they had attempted to inform parents of the requirements, and only 11.5 percent said they had changed graduation requirements or made other moves to make sure their students met the requirements.

“There isn’t enough awareness of the new standards,” said Joseph R. White, the director of academic advising for athletes at Clemson and a co-author of the survey. “When you are talking about $25,000-to-$30,000 scholarships, everybody ought to know.”

“I would be pretty upset,” he said, “if I had a child playing a sport for three years and then in his or her senior year, a college coach comes around and says, ‘I’d love to offer you a scholarship, but you don’t have the math and English courses you need.”’

Academic Requirements

Under the new requirements, known collectively as “Rule 48,” college freshmen who want to participate in intercollegiate sports at any of the colleges or universities that compete in the ncaa’s large-school division--Division 1--must have scored at least 700 (out of a possible 1,600) on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or at least a 15 (out of a possible 36) on the American College Testing Program’s examination.

They must also have at least a 2.0 (out of 4.0) high-school grade-point average in a specified curriculum of 11 courses in such subjects as English, mathematics, social science, and natural or physical sciences.

Those who fail to meet the requirements will be allowed to attend universities on athletic scholarships but will not be eligible to compete in intercollegiate competition during their first year.

Proponents of the rule have argued that the new standards would encourage high-school officials to ensure that their student-athletes were taking and passing more rigorous courses, thereby preparing them to meet the test-score requirement.

The freshman class of 1986 will be the first to have to meet the new standards. The ncaa chose that date when it approved Rule 48 in January of 1983 to give students who were then high-school freshmen nearly four years to meet the standards.

But the authors of the Clemson survey say that the lack of attention to the new standards suggested in their survey results casts doubt on that reasoning.

“There has not been sufficient information provided to schools about the rule,” said R. Eugene Jenkins, a professor of education at Clemson who also worked on the study. “Considering that current sophomores will be affected by it, the lack of information could create problems for a lot of kids.”

Mr. Jenkins blamed the ncaa for failing to adequately inform secondary-school officials about Rule 48 and its implications.

He noted that the 68 percent of those in the Clemson survey who were familiar with Rule 48 said they had learned about it through the news media.

Publicity Effort Planned

Thomas E. Yeager, assistant director of legislative services for the ncaa, acknowledged that the organization has not systematically informed high-school officials about the new standards, but he said that within the next few weeks, the organization will mail pamphlets outlining Rule 48 in detail to every high school in the country.

He also noted that most officials in school systems that frequently graduate athletes of Division 1 caliber are aware of the new standards, an assertion supported by the findings of the Clemson survey, according to Mr. White.

Mr. Yeager said the ncaa is conducting a study of the transcripts of athletes at the 278 Division-1 institutions in attempt to gauge the effect of the test-score requirement on minority students.

He said the results of the study, which is to be completed this summer, will help ncaa officials decide whether to modify the testing standard, which has been attacked as discriminatory by officials at predominantly black colleges and universities.

A version of this article appeared in the April 11, 1984 edition of Education Week as Schools Said Failing To Tell Pupils of N.C.A.A. Rule