During a press conference at the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Thursday, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that his organization will be launching a series of academics-based advertisements targeting middle- and high-school student-athletes in the coming months.
Back in October 2011, the NCAA Division I board of directors approved a proposal that raises the academic eligibility standard for incoming student-athletes. Freshmen only need to enter college with a 2.0 GPA to be eligible for athletics now, but starting in August 2016, they’ll need to have a 2.3 GPA or higher in core courses to have immediate access to competition.
From August 2016 onward, if a student-athlete meets the current 2.0 GPA requirement but fails to reach the 2.3 GPA required for competition, he or she will still be allowed to remain on his or her athletic scholarship, under another proposal approved in October 2011. The NCAA refers to this as an “academic redshirt” year.
Based on when this higher academic standard takes effect, current collegiate student-athletes aren’t the ones who have to worry about this particular rule change. It’s the K-12 student-athletes who need to be concerned if they hope to participate in intercollegiate athletics after graduating high school.
Emmert and his staff are well aware of this fact. That’s why the NCAA is developing a program called “2.3 or Take a Knee,” Emmert said during his Final Four press conference on Thursday.
“We’re going to be launching a variety of advertisements that are geared toward youngsters, which means nobody in this room will get the jokes, but that’s okay,” Emmert said at the press conference, according to a transcript from ASAP Sports. “It’s not aimed at us, it’s aimed at young people to get them to understand that not only do they need a good jump shot, they need good grades in math if they’re going to be successful in NCAA athletics.”
The NCAA’s website already features a “2.3 or Take a Knee” section, detailing the exact minimum academic requirements for all incoming student-athletes starting in August 2016. The NCAA eligibility center also contains the academic information for college-bound student-athletes, detailing what will change between now and the start of the 2016-17 school year.
In short, since the NCAA approved the rule change for incoming student-athletes, the association is now taking the next logical step to make that initiative succeed. All middle schools and high schools can’t necessarily be counted on to deliver the message about the increased academic requirements, so the NCAA has taken matters into its own hands.
Photo: NCAA President Mark Emmert addresses the media at a news conference Thursday in Atlanta. (David J. Phillip/AP)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.