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NCAA Division I board decides to retain current initial-eligibility sliding scale

May 2, 2013, 8:59 PM EDT

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With the decision in October 2011 to raise the initial-eligibility standards for college basketball players beginning with the 2016 class, there was concern that a higher percentage of players would be ruled ineligible as freshmen.

That legislation would have required a prospective student-athlete to have a minimum GPA of 2.3 and complete at least ten of their 16 core courses before the start of their senior year of high school.

But due to a concern about “unintended consequences” that would occur as a result of the increased standards, the NCAA announced on Thursday that its Division I board has decided to retain the current initial-eligibility scale for the foreseeable future.

“APRs are improving, and I believe they will continue to improve,” Committee on Academic Performance chair Walter Harrison, also president of the University of Hartford, said in the release. “I’m concerned about minority students who would be affected by the dramatic change to the sliding scale.

“The new 930 APR benchmark required for postseason competition is impacting coaches’ recruiting decisions.  These changes and the action the Board took today to strengthen the high school core GPA calculation will make the positive effects even more dramatic.”

The decision to retain the current sliding scale is a good one, especially when considering the increase in corresponding SAT score that would come with the proposed “new” sliding scale.

Currently, student-athletes with a 2.5 GPA need an 820 on the SAT in order to be eligible. Under the proposed 2016 changes, the same student with a 2.5 GPA would have needed to score a 1,000 on the SAT.

In regards to the calculation of a student-athlete’s GPA in core courses only the best “16 best grades meeting the required distribution of math, science, English and other courses” will be allowed to count.

That change, which is a departure from the current system that “allows as many core courses as a prospective student-athlete takes within the time limitation to count toward the final GPA” will become official on August 1, 2016.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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