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Thursday, August 12, 2010
Board proposes tougher standards

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Men's basketball players may have to give up those summer vacations to focus on academics.

On Thursday, the NCAA's board of directors agreed to back a new proposal requiring incoming freshmen to have their academic records assessed by university officials. Those in need of additional classwork would have to take at least six credit hours during summer school, earning at least three credits, to become eligible in the fall.

In addition, school officials would have to reassess the academic records of players at the end of each school year and determine whether additional summer classes are needed.

Schools that do not offer summer classes would be exempt from the legislation.

The reward: Coaches could then designate an eight-week summer period in which the athletes enrolled in classes could attend up to eight hours per week of strength and conditioning training. Two hours of that could be designated for skills development with the coaching staff.

College basketball coaches have long contended they wanted more time to work with their players during the summer.

NABC executive director Jim Haney was out of town and unavailable for comment.

The proposal will now go to the membership schools for comment. It is scheduled to be voted on in January.

Under the proposal, schools would also have to provide a learning-skills assessment and education program for all incoming men's basketball players and require schools to cover the cost of summer classes for incoming freshmen through their scholarships.

Critics argue that the legislation will be too expensive, give the national governing body too much power over the decisions of individual schools and give coaches more practice time.

The board also approved a proposal that would limit the number of physical education courses that junior college transfers can use as credit and a requirement that all schedules and practice schedules in men's basketball be approved by the school's faculty athletic representative.

But the board asked the football committee to revise its proposal before making a final presentation in October.

Among the possible changes are a requirement that football players earn at least nine credit hours during the fall semester, or eight hours at schools with a quarter system, to be eligible the following fall. Those athletes who fail to meet the requirement could be suspended for up to four games the following year.

In other action, the board also introduced legislation requiring new Division I members to go through a four-year transition period and pay a $1.3 million application fee. Schools would also have to have an invitation from a conference. Schools facing historically based penalties, based on the Academic Performance Program, would not be eligible to move up to Division I.

That vote is also scheduled for January.