Blacks Are Hit Hardest by N.C.A.A. Academic-Eligibility Rule

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Blacks have been affected most by National Collegiate Athletic Association rules setting minimum academic standards for athletes, according to a new Associated Press survey.

The survey examined the 274 high-school recruits who have been barred this year from intercollegiate athletics by the NCAA standards, known as Proposition 48. Of those athletes whose racial background could be determined, 86.8 percent were black.

Proposition 48 requires recruits to score at least 700 out of a possible 1,600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests, or 15 out of 36 on the American College Test. The rule also requires at least a 2.0 high-school grade-point average in 11 mandatory courses.

Critics of the standardized tests argue they are culturally biased in favor of high-school students from white, middle-class backgrounds. They also charge that the tests are poor indicators of which students are likely to succeed in college.

"The SAT doesn't work in the college-admissions process unless you are black, female or Hispanic--then it works against you," said Robert A. Schaeffer, public-education director of FairTest, a Cambridge, Mass., 8group that has attacked standardized admission tests.

Ursula Walsh, director of research for the NCAA, said the association planned to do a 10-year study of the "preparation and progress of student athletes."

" It goes without saying we want to be sure these tests are valid predictors," Ms. Walsh added.

Defenders of the tests argue that many blacks and low-income students receive low test scores because of their relatively weak educational backgrounds, not because of cultural bias in the tests.

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