NCAA's New APR Rules Miss Point

WASHINGTON - MARCH 17: NCAA President Mark Emmert address the media during a press conference before the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center on March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

As you have probably heard by now, the NCAA has voted, and approved to change the rules regarding the Academic Progress Rate (APR) for it's member schools. 

If you don't know what the APR is, it is a metric developed by the NCAA to help measure the success of teams in moving their student-athletes toward graduation. 

The new rule states that teams with a four-year APR rate below 930 are prohibited from participating in the post-season. This includes all NCAA Tournaments and football bowl games. 

This rule changes drastically from the old rule that was instituted in February of 2005. According to the old rule, teams with an APR rate of 925 or less face less harsh penalties, such as loss of scholarships. With the new rule, the NCAA has the ability to ban teams from the postseason if they do not meet the requirements. This is a much harsher penalty. 

The plan is set to be in place by this October, but NCAA president Mark Emmert says there is likely to be a three to five year phase-in period before the rule will be fully implemented by the NCAA because of the drastic change. This time would allow for schools to get their academic house in order before being penalized for it. 

If the new APR rule was implemented during this past season, teams like Ohio State, Purdue, Kansas State, San Diego State and Syracuse would be kept from the NCAA Tournament. All these teams were ranked in last year's Top 25. 

So how does this miss the point? What the NCAA can't seem to understand is that when a team member drops out of school, it hurts the program's APR and it isn't exactly the coaches or professors fault, it is on the kid. The same goes for when a student-athlete fails a class.

The NCAA penalizes coaches and athletic programs for essentially failing to motivate their student-athletes to graduate. That's where I think they missed the point.

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In my personal opinion, it shouldn't be the coaches job to sit there and babysit and make sure the athlete has all his or her homework done, done right, and ready to turn in when it is due. Yes, coaches should still monitor grades, consult with other coaches about it and talk to the athlete and see what is going on that is making it difficult to keep their grades up, but it's on the athlete if he or she decides not to do the work they are supposed to do or get extra help when they need it. Coaches can assist when the athlete needs assistance or asks for assistance in academics, helping them get a tutor and making that work into their athletic schedule as well. The NCAA should not penalize an entire athletic program for when the players fail to take responsibility for their academics.

The NCAA shouldn't penalize athletic programs when student-athletes drop out because it is not the teams fault that the team member dropped out. College students leave school all the time to pursue opportunities elsewhere, such as professional careers. Don't penalize the team because of one person's decision to leave. 

I get what the NCAA is trying to do, which is make the student come before the athlete, because I do think schools have gotten away from that a little bit, but I do not feel the right way to go about it is to penalize schools for student choices.

My suggestion would be to implement a rule regarding only the student-athlete, that has the potential to ban them from participating in the post-season if they don't do what they need to do during the season to keep their grades up. But then again, that kind of already goes along with the rules now that would make a student-athlete academically ineligible. 

I think the NCAA wanted to change something about the APR to simply look like they were fixing something, when in reality, they fixed nothing at all. 

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