Archive for Monday, April 19, 2004

NCAA reform movement faces test

April 19, 2004


— For nearly two years, Todd Turner has worked to return academic integrity to college sports. For two months, David Berst has tried to rewrite recruiting rules.

Both are about to face a major test.

The NCAA Management Council meets today and Tuesday to consider sweeping proposals endorsed by NCAA president Myles Brand and designed to change the culture and image of intercollegiate athletics.

"Both are very critical areas for us," said council chairwoman Christine Plonsky, women's athletic director at Texas. "Common sense can prevail very, very easily. In the academic world, we're moving into a new direction."

Turner, the former athletic director at Vanderbilt, heads a committee that developed an ambitious proposal to penalize schools when student-athletes consistently perform poorly in the classroom.

Berst, an NCAA vice president, oversees a panel examining recruiting rules. That group's ideas also will be discussed this week.

If the proposal from Turner's committee is passed by the council this week and approved by the NCAA Board of Directors on April 29, schools could be penalized as early as next year. The NCAA would look at graduation rates and general academic progress of athletes, assigning a score to each of the more than 6,000 Division I teams in all sports.

If a team then falls below a certain standard, which will be determined when data is collected from 2004-05, incremental penalties would include a warning letter, loss of scholarships, disqualification from NCAA tournaments and loss of money from NCAA championships. The penalty would increase each year.

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