The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the largest athletic organising body for college sports in the USA, managing over 450,000 student athletes per year. The NCAA prides itself on taking care and creating opportunities for student-athletes, putting a lot of emphasis on Academics, Student Wellbeing, and Athletic Fairness. Of these three core focuses, the NCAA’s academic standards are being altered.
The NCAA has announced they will be increasing their academic standards and requirements for Division 1, from August 2016. Listed below are a few reasons why they are being raised.
Academics come first in College. The higher the academic standards, the better prepared the student-athlete will be to succeed after college life.
Division 1 teams need student-athletes to meet academic standards to avoid penalties. The NCAA can decrease a team's scholarship funding and reduce their playing and practice times if academic standards are not fulfilled.
Studies conducted by the NCAA, show that student-athletes graduate at higher rates compared to the overall student body. The goal of the NCAA is to maintain and increase the graduation rates for its student-athletes.
Division 1 Core Course Requirements from High School:
· Total Courses Needed = 16
· 4 years English
· 3 years Mathematics
· 2 years of either Natural Sciences or Physical Sciences
· 2 years Social Sciences
· 1 year additional of either English/Mathematics/Natural Science/Physical Science
· 4 years additional courses in either a Foreign Language, English/Mathematics,
Changes to NCAA D1 Academic Requirements:
- 10 of the 16 required core courses need to be completed by the end of Grade 11.
- A minimum GPA of 2.30 in your core courses is needed.
- The combined SAT or ACT scores need to match the core courses on the GPA sliding scale.
- 7 of the 10 core courses need to be a combination of English, Maths Core, Natural Science and Physical Sciences.
If the student-athlete does not meet these new requirements, they will not be able to play for one year.
The NCAA has always encouraged wellness among student-athletes; they believe that it is vital to keep athletes physically and mentally healthy, both on and off the field. A few ways in which the NCAA looks out for the athletes’ wellbeing are listed below:
· The NCAA has recently partnered with the United States Department of Defense and gained $30 million of funding which will be used to clinically study concussions and head injuries.
· The NCAA discourages the use of alcohol and drugs. To combat substance abuse, random drug tests are carried out multiple times per year.
· The NCAA provides resources to colleges and student-athletes to help manage mental health.
· The NCAA maintains strict standards to prevent hazing, initiations, and physical abuse within team structures.
· The NCAA provides educational programmes and resources to help inform athlete about proper nutrition.
· The NCAA now offers unlimited meals and snacks to both Division 1 and 2 athletes, in relation to the athletes participation.
Fairness and equal opportunity is what all athletes want when being a part of any organisation. Since 1994, when the NCAA began to develop women sports, female participation has more than doubled and is looking to exponentially increase. Athletic scholarships are also evenly distributed between men and women, for example if 10 men get football scholarships, 10 women need to get the equal amount of scholarships, be it in different sports such as tennis, field hockey or water polo. This goes to show that the NCAA is dedicated to fairness and equality throughout college sports.