Discuss the following bylaw 14 and answer the questions below in great detail.
While initial eligibility requirements determine a freshman student-athlete’s eligibility status upon arrival at an institution, continuing eligibility is applicable once a student-athlete has attended a Division I institution. In order for a student-athlete to maintain their continuing eligibility they have to satisfy several academic requirements each semester and academic year.
Why does the NCAA even have continuing eligibility rules? One, it provides incentive for student-athletes to continually progress toward their degree. Two, it has proven to be an effective tool in improving student-athlete graduation rates. Starting in 2003, the NCAA instituted an academic reform package related to initial eligibility, continuing eligibility, and APR (NCAA Graduation Rates, n.d.). This academic reform contributed to rising graduation rates for Division I over the past 15 years. In 2017, Division I student-athletes set a record for Graduation Success Rates at an 87% (NCAA Graduation Rates).
The following steps will assist you in determining if a student-athlete has met continuing eligibility requirements. If you cannot affirm that a student-athlete has met the requirements in each step, they would not be considered eligible to compete in their sport.
1) Full-Time Enrollment (14.2.1 & 14.2.2): A student-athlete must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution in order to be eligible for practice and competition. Full-time enrollment must be a minimum of 12 credit hours per term for competition.
2) Good Academic Standing (14.01.2.1): In order for a student-athlete to be eligible for competition, they must be considered in good academic standing by their institution. Good academic standing should be set by institutional authorities who would normally make that determination.
3) Credit-Hour Requirements (188.8.131.52): The credit-hour requirements are separated between semester-by-semester requirements and annual requirements. All requirements must be met in order for a student-athlete to be eligible each term.
a) After each term, a student-athlete must pass at least 6 credit hours in order to be eligible for the following term.
b) After each academic year, student-athletes are required to pass a minimum of 18 semester or 27 quarter credit hours in order to be eligible the next academic
Exception: During a student-athlete’s freshman year they must pass at least 24 semester or 36 quarter credit hours to be eligible for their sophomore year.
4) Percentage of Degree (184.108.40.206): At the start of student-athlete’s third year in college, they are also required to meet percentage of degree requirements to maintain their eligibility. At the start of their 3rd year, they must have enough credits earned to satisfy 40% of the overall credit hour requirements for their degree, At the start of their 4th year, they must have 60% met, and at the start of their 5th year, they have 80% met.
5) Grade Point Average (220.127.116.11): Following a student-athlete’s freshman year, a minimum GPA standard must be met each fall in order to meet continuing eligibility requirements. The GPA percentage is based off of the minimum cumulative GPA required to graduate from their institution. This can vary from institution to institution. Based on institutional standards, a student-athlete must meet 90% of that standard at the beginning of their second year in college, 95% at the start of their third year, and 100% at the beginning of their fourth year.
Now that we have outlined the standard continuing eligibility requirements, we must also discuss what credit hours can count towards these eligibility requirements. Not all institutional credits can be used towards continuing eligibility.
For instance, remedial courses do not typically count towards continuing eligibility requirements. However, there is an exception that does allow a freshman to use six remedial course credits towards their continuing eligibility requirements in their freshman year.
Also, in a student-athlete’s first two years of college, they may earn credits toward any degree program, and still have them count toward continuing eligibility requirements. However, after a student-athlete’s second year, they must declare a degree program. Going forward, all credit hours earned use go toward that degree program in order for those credits to count toward continuing eligibility. One exception to this rule is if a student-athlete declares an option minor. Hours towards an optional minor can be used toward meet the credit hour requirements.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the continuing eligibility rules outlined in Bylaw 14.4. In order to drive our conversation forward, I have presented two questions below for you to consider. I would appreciate any feedback that you may be able to provide. Thanks!
Question 1: There is some debate regarding the NCAA’s academic reform measures that were implemented starting in 2003. Wolverton (2007) provided research that suggested that some student-athletes believe that the progress toward degree requirements are inflexible and force student-athletes to choose a major before they may be ready. On the other hand, NCAA research says that academic reform measures, including new progress toward degree rules, played an impactful role in the increasing Graduation Success Rates for student-athletes over the past fifteen years. What is your opinion on both the fairness and effectiveness of NCAA academic reform?
Question 2: John Smith is a Division I men’s basketball student-athlete at Lebron University. Based on the continuing eligibility table below, would Mr. Smith be eligible to compete for Lebron University at the start of his third year (Fall 2018) in school? Also, would he have been ineligible at any point before his third year? What, if any, additional information would you need to make a continuing eligibility decisions for Mr. Smith?
Mr. Smith is pursuing a 130 credit hour nursing degree, which he declared right before the start of his third year. The institution requires a 2.0 cumulative GPA for graduation. The numbers in the table represent the number of credit hours he passed in each term.
Fall Spring Summer Cumulative
2016-17 9 10 4 2.3
2017-18 15 12 6 1.98