NCAA: higher academic standard for student-athletes

Thomas Robinson waits in the locker room with his backpack before an NCAA tournament game. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The NCAA has come on strong, deciding on new standards for eligibility of student-athletes.

The minimal accepted grade point average has increased from 2.0 to 2.3. Students will need to have more core-class credits (up to 16 credits) before entering college. The NCAA has even increased the number of credit hours required before the athletes' junior year in high school.

The NCAA is sending a loud and clear message to coaches and administrators alike. They want players that have a legitimate chance of being productive college student-athletes.

I've seen kids doing nothing for years in high school and then, at the last minute, take all sorts of courses to become eligible.

I firmly believe that it is a good idea to try to clean things up. With that said, I believe the criteria for eligibility through high school should depend on the individual schools. The standards for admission differ at each school. A 2.3 at one school may not equate to a 2.3 at another college.

Let's face reality. Some prep schools have incredible academic standards, which makes it tougher to succeed academically. In those cases, colleges would have more leniency for student-athletes graduating from these types of schools. If the student-athlete earns a 2.3 from that institution, it would have a greater accolade.

I do not believe that colleges will just let any kid in, especially with the new Academic Progress Rate rules that have been applied in the last few years. Colleges are taking a major risk by admitting kids who have no shot of being respectable students.

If the kid doesn't meet the standard to go to a Duke or Stanford, that's fine. They may have the ability to perform at a school at a lower academic bar.

The bottom line is the NCAA should be applauded for trying to bring some legitimacy to the term "student-athlete."

In many cases, that legitimacy does not currently exist. A college is supposed to provide an opportunity for someone who wants to be there. We have too many one-and-done athletes who simply do not want to be in school.

The NCAA has also come up with sweeping recommendations to change the enforcement model. My friends, that is long overdue.

The recommendations from the Board of Directors, which will take effect August 1, 2013, would dramatically change how the NCAA handles enforcement cases. The size of the committee of infractions will grow in size, more than double the current group, going from 10 to 24. There would be more tiers of violations, allowing for flexibility in meting out punishment.

The biggest positive would be a plan that sets new penalty guidelines to hold those who step outside the accepted code of conduct more accountable for their actions. There will be greater emphasis put on coaches. It would enforce the fact that head coaches set the tone and culture for compliance within the program. When there is failure by the coach to fulfill these expectations, the new enforcement model holds them individually accountable.

That is a step in the right direction.

The NCAA is trying to do a better job with college athletics, and I fully commend them for it.