Editorial: When the NCAA sees a drop in Academic Progress next year, don't blame the schools.

Editorial: When the NCAA sees a drop in Academic Progress next year, don't blame the schools.

Editorial:  When the NCAA sees a drop in Academic Progress next year, don't blame the schools, blame the NBA.

The NCAA released its multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) report today with great fanfare.  Michelle Brutlag Hosick of the NCAA News published an article on the success of the NCAA's Academic Performance Program (APP) saying The APP “is creating positive behavioral change among Division I institutions, according to new four-year data released May 6.”   That is both correct and misleading.

By Bill Smith

    Everyone hopes that the men and women that get athletic scholarships to institutions of higher learning will take full advantage of that opportunity.  The NCAA has seen progress over the last few years and can be proud of that momentum.  The NCAA is penalizing schools that fail to meet acceptable levels by reducing scholarships for sports that lag.  Of the 218 teams, 113 will receive immediate penalties and 35 will receive penalties and a public flogging—make that warning for historically poor performance.  26 others will receive penalties for historically poor performance including limits on scholarships, recruiting, and practice time. 

    But when the numbers come in for the 2007-2008 the basketball season, the trend could be down significantly.  It will be the NBA's fault and not the affected schools.

    The rookie qualification rule that the NBA instituted beginning for the 2006-2007 season stated that no high school player was eligible for the draft.   As a result those players that in previous years would have gone directly to the pros were forced to play at least one year somewhere else.  Most of the players that qualified went to colleges around the country.  Forget about the fact that the NBA rule violates the Constitution of the United States; the players had to serve one year in basketball limbo. 

    The trapped players had very little interest in anything other than spending their time practicing for their future career.  Let's just say that their grade point was only of interest to them to insure they could play during the second semester.  On the good side, the quality of the players that came out of a year under a teaching college coach was better than in previous years.  The fundamentals skills of these players were better.  However, the one year player's lack of commitment to the educational opportunity is bound to negatively affect the NCAA's statistics next year.

    While in football a player decides to leave early to the pros, he is only one of over 100.  Basketball is entirely different.  The rosters are so small that a single player leaving early will have a much larger negative impact on the statistics.

    The schools that will be most affected will be the major basketball institutions that lost freshmen to the draft including Ohio State, Florida, and UCLA.  Let's hope that the NCAA takes that into consideration before implementing penalties.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams and has scouted talent.  He is a senior writer for http://BrutusReport.com and has published several novels on

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