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DI Committee on Academics provides feedback on academic integrity

Academic Progress Rate review, postgraduate eligibility rules also discussed

The Division I Committee on Academics supports several suggested changes to academic integrity rules and policies forwarded to the membership for comment by the Division I Presidential Forum last month. The committee met this week in Indianapolis.

One change would create an overarching bylaw to capture instances of systemic, willful disregard for academic integrity that impacted student-athlete eligibility or fair competition. The committee backs that concept contingent on the formation of a separate membership committee to examine potential enforcement allegations to be sure the situation demonstrated systematic and pervasive problems that show a willful disregard for academic integrity that otherwise didn’t fall under NCAA rules.

The committee also agrees that standards of review should be distributed to members to help them formulate campus policies to promote academic integrity.

Members also favor the clarification of current rules, including consolidation of all academic misconduct legislation in one section of the Division I manual, establishing uniform terminology and embedding the role a school has in deciding whether academic integrity violations occurred into the NCAA’s process.

“The Committee on Academics supports NCAA rules and policies that promote a positive educational experience for student-athletes. We want to reinforce the values of higher education within athletics departments,” said committee chair John J. DeGioia, Georgetown president. “The NCAA has an interest in maintaining a level playing field for student-athletes, and the committee members have tried to balance that need with a deference to member schools’ individual autonomy.”

The group also discussed academic opportunities for student-athletes competing after graduation. A model that would allow student-athletes who transfer after graduation to have the same academic opportunities (graduate certificate programs, additional undergraduate coursework, etc.) as student-athletes who continue to compete for their undergraduate school drew some tentative agreement. The committee will seek membership feedback on the concept.

The committee’s continuing review of the Academic Performance Program covered several topics, including penalties and filters, the head coach Academic Progress Rate, public recognition, inclusion of student-athletes who don’t count against team financial aid limits in the APR, accounting for transfer in the APR, and APR components and calculation. Earlier this year, the committee reviewed the cohort composition, postgraduates in the APR, the professional sports departure and delayed graduation points.

The Subcommittee on Data will continue to review the feedback from the full group and will refine options over the summer before the full committee finalizes options for potential changes to send to the membership for feedback after the group’s October meeting. After several rounds of feedback, the group could propose any changes to be effective with data collected in the fall of 2021.

Finally, the committee voted to establish a working group to study the academic performance of wrestling student-athletes. Representatives of the National Wrestling Coaches Association asked the committee for help in improving the academic performance of students who participate in wrestling. The roster has yet to be determined.