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DI academics committee approves campus resource

Group makes progress on academic distribution plan

The Division I Committee on Academics gave final approval to a new resource intended to help high-level leaders on campus assess and discuss the academic well-being of student-athletes at their school.

The resource directs leaders to available data about student-athletes on their campus and does not require anyone to do additional work to gather or submit information. Committee members hope the tool will help leaders identify individual areas of focus and reinforce the student-athlete as a part of a broader campus community.

The data identification resource is intended to help high-level leaders identify trends and potential areas of improvement. It also would empower presidents to more fully understand the scope of the academic performance of student-athletes and how it relates to the performance of the student body. Schools wouldn’t be required to use the process.

The tool will be rolled out to target audiences in a variety of ways, including through the NCAA’s new chancellor/president training, through the governance structure, at Regional Rules Seminars and through the NCAA’s various programs and portals.

The goal is to have the tool ready for use by the beginning of the next academic year. The committee members will review the tool regularly to ensure it assists the membership as intended.

Values-based revenue distribution

The committee continued its work to implement the new revenue distribution model. Beginning in 2019-20, a portion of Division I revenue will be distributed based on the academic performance of a school’s student-athletes. The Committee on Academics is charged with implementation, including ensuring that decision-makers on Division I campuses understand the new distribution and its impact.

The group identified some strategies for communicating about the program with the membership, including pinpointing different people on campus who will need to be educated, ranging from the admissions office to development to student-athletes. Committee members stressed clarity and simplification as important strategies to employ in any communication about the new distribution and how it works.

“Distributing revenue based on academic metrics is a significant cultural change for the NCAA, and the new distribution represents substantial funds for Division I schools,” said Georgetown President John DeGioia, chair of the Committee on Academics. “We need to communicate clearly the criteria and distribution methods. Members are paying attention to this.”

Legislative recommendations

The committee also recommended the Division I Council introduce legislation that would enhance student-athlete well-being and reduce the membership’s workload.

Two pieces of legislation would create an exception to full-time enrollment requirements. The first would allow student-athletes with documented education-impacting disabilities to drop below the full-time enrollment requirements. The second would create the exception for college athletes in their second-to-last term who are enrolled in all remaining credit hours required for graduation but have an experiential learning requirement (such as student teaching, an internship or a capstone project) for their final term. A third proposal would provide more flexibility in the transfer requirements for student-athletes who qualified academically to play sports at Division I schools but spent more than four semesters at a two-year college.

Large numbers of waivers of all three legislative recommendations have been approved. The legislative recommendations resulted from the regular review of waivers by the Subcommittee on Student-Athlete Academics.

The Council could consider the legislative request as early as its June meeting.