NCAA passes new regulations

By Gus Bode

The NCAA is making it a lot harder to balance sports and academics in colleges across the nation this fall.

Starting Aug. 1, incoming student-athletes must have 24 hours of academic credit completed before they enter their second year. In addition, student-athletes must complete 40 percent of their classes toward their degree by the end of their sophomore year. Twenty percent must also be earned during each of their third and fourth years.

“As far as the university as a whole, there’s not any special preferences given to student-athletes,” said Kristina Therriault, coordinator of Student Services for SIU Athletics.


The NCAA also passed a new requirement that states high school student-athletes now have to take 14 core classes, unlike 13 in the old system. Provided the students pass all 14 classes, they will be able to enter college even if they scored low on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT.

The new requirements make it easier for high school prospects to attend college, but it also makes it harder to stay there.

“There are really two ways to look at it,” SIU men’s swimming head coach Rick Walker said. “One way is looking at how much this is going to screw everybody up and the other is the amount of challenges incoming athletes are going to face.”

The new changes may be detrimental for students who are not prepared for the academic workload, specifically undecided freshmen.

“Right now, students don’t have a lot of possibilities to switch majors, but it’s going to be even tougher for these new students coming in,” Therriault said. “They have to have 48 hours complete by the start of their junior year, and then the requirements jump up to 60 percent before their senior year.”

The new rules are expected to increase graduation rates and make universities more accountable for the academic success of their student-athletes.

Typically, undecided college freshmen wait around a year before deciding what kind of career they want to pursue. The new regulations will force athletes to decide quicker and make it harder for them to maintain the required pace.


“I don’t know if we can afford to wait for somebody to be undecided, pick a major and then find out that they’re three hours short of the requirements,” Walker said.

Reporter Pete Spitler can be reached at [email protected]