The NCAA has implemented new rules as of last spring. One of them is an adjustment to the required grade point average (GPA) of junior college transfers to four-year schools. The minimum transferable credit has been raised to 2.5 from 2.0. It is higher than the 2.3 required for incoming freshmen and is also higher than what universities require for continuing eligibility.
The other rule that will be implemented by the end of the 2013 school year is an adjustment in the required course loads. Previously, transfers needed to complete six hours of English and three hours of math among the 48 hours required to earn their associate’s degree. Now, in addition to that, student athletes also need to finish three hours of natural or physical sciences and no more than two physical activity credit hours can be applied.
The primary goal of these changes is to have student-athletes graduate within five years. A problem was noticed when looking at graduation rates across the board, one of the biggest areas of concern was two-year college transfers. According to data collected from Division I schools, two-year transfers have underperformed relative to non-transfers or even four-four transfers. The newest data says around 11 percent of two-year transfers don’t graduate within six years of transferring to a Division I school.
These new rules have incited some differing views from various quarters. Those in the two-year community are worried the new standards were too much of a knee-jerk reaction and could have a lasting effect.
“What’s always a concern to me is that we ask more of that young man or that young lady in terms of their grade point average, or their test scores, than we do any other student that attends any university in the country that doesn’t participate in athletics,” Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder said. “To me, I don’t know why you would make a distinction and why you would ostracize some student-athletes. Now, if they don’t meet university standards, I can understand that. If they don’t, they don’t, and you should go by that. But for the NCAA to mandate something that exceeds virtually all, with the exception of the Ivy League schools, there’s an unfairness there, I believe.”
Conversely, Walter Harrison, the president of the University of Hartford and the chairman of the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance, strongly agrees with the NCAA’s decision to implement the higher standards.
As an educator, Harrison believes the graduation rates for football and basketball that sit below 50 percent are too low and every school should be focused on graduating all of its student-athletes. But he understands the principles of access to higher education and the ability to succeed once you get there often clash when dealing with two-year transfers.