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DI committee recommits to transfer recommendations

Members support notification of transfer concept

The Division I Committee on Academics on April 9 reaffirmed recommendations it gave earlier this year to the Division I Council Transfer Working Group, including its support for a rule change that would eliminate the ability of coaches and schools to restrict aid to student-athletes after transferring.

The committee met last week in Indianapolis.

The committee also reiterated its support for a concept that would allow student-athletes meeting a high academic standard — for example, a minimum grade-point average between 3.0 and 3.3 paired with progress-toward-degree requirements — to compete after transfer one time, no matter what sport the student plays.

Members noted that at all other times in a student-athlete’s career, eligibility for competition is determined by a student’s academic record − for example, before they can compete as a freshman, whether they are making adequate progress toward a degree and after they have transferred from a two-year college. When Division I members created those standards, they considered the differences across degree programs, curricula and schools, as any four-year transfer rule would.

Nicole Sherwin, who represents the national Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on the Division I Committee on Academics, said student-athletes support the academic benchmark because it is something a student must earn.

“You should be rewarded for your academics,” said Sherwin, who earned degrees in biomedical science and psychology while playing soccer at Northern Arizona. “Athletics (participation) is a privilege, not a right. It’s important that we remember that they are able to transfer to another school if they’d like to, but playing immediately would be a privilege for being in the right academic spot.”

Data does not support requiring students with high levels of academic success to sit out a year of competition after transferring, members said, and the practice may both slow progress toward graduation and pose additional financial burden on those high-achieving transferring student-athletes and their new schools.

Division I strategic plan

Committee members discussed their part in the development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan for Division I athletics, including how the committee can support improving the academic success of student-athletes, especially those who are less academically prepared.

In its role as overseers of the Academic Performance Program (including graduation rates and the Academic Progress Rate), the committee will be in an important position to assist with the strategic plan.

Academic summit in the works

The committee also discussed plans for a future academic summit that would bring together external organizations dedicated to higher education to identify and discuss trends and issues in higher education and how athletics will intersect and impact the future.

Potential topics include the economics of higher education and athletics’ role in the finances of a university; demographics of the higher education community, including students; mental health and well-being of students and student-athletes; and public and alumni support of higher education and athletics.

A small group of committee members, external consultants and NCAA staff is working on a framework for the summit, aimed at university presidents, provosts and other educational leaders.