New NCAA president Mark Emmert has helped put together a plan for increased academic standards at schools. You have to give Emmert and the NCAA credit for trying to raise the bar and make the student-athlete responsible. It is a move in the right direction, bringing sanity to the term "student-athlete."
The plan is to raise the APR (academic progress rate) from 900 to an eventual 930 on a scale of 1,000. The actual calculations and gathering of the data are still up in the air. The time needed to get it all together will take a while, so this will not affect the coming season. But during the 2012-13 season, you could see a number of schools being affected by the new rule. Most notable among those schools? Connecticut.
There are strong indications that over the four-year period that will be used to calculate an APR average, the Huskies could be out of the 2012-13 NCAA tournament. This could be altered, but it will be interesting to see whether the situation leads Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun to leave after this season.
I also like the idea that players can work with coaches in the summer. In the past, there were rules against that. It is great when players can use resources to improve, which is so important. The old rules were absurd and ludicrous. It is much better to be working with coaches instead of with shady guys on the street.
The idea of giving $2,000 to athletes may come under scrutiny. You could end up with the haves and have-nots, with a lot of schools being unable to pay. The schools and conferences have to come up with the money, and some non-BCS schools may have trouble coming up with the bucks. The concept is moving in the right direction, but I actually thought the dough could be a little higher.
I have said it many times before, but we need a czar in college football and basketball. We need someone to step in and take charge with all these wacky conference shifts. There is no sense of geographic logic, and this should be discussed. There have been people questioning the NCAA in recent years. But the organization is making some positive moves under Emmert's leadership.
These school presidents are smart people, but a lot of this is nonsense. I don't want to get started on that.
The NCAA is coming through, and these are all steps in the right direction, my friends.