NCAA President Mark Emmert unveils new college eligibility standards.
As the glorified NCAA Basketball Tournament known as March Madness rolls out this week, so to will a new promotional campaign trumpeting the increase standard eligibility requirement for student athletes.
Last week NCAA President Mark Emmert hosted a community meeting at California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson to explain the standard that will lift the college eligibility standards from 2.0 to 2.3.
Emmert said that his organization would aim its publicity campaign at high school basketball coaches and AAU teams with advertisements, leaflets, posters and online and social media elements.
The enhanced initial-eligibility standards that are set to go into effect August 2016 will increase the core grade point average in 16 required core courses from 2.0 to 2.3.
The meeting was attended by university faculty, clergy and community organizations and no one in the audience was the primary target the NCAA needs to reach.
Roughly 14-18 individuals attended including officers from the NCAA who flaked Emmert. There was just a handful of Blacks in the room, including the reporter, a clergyman and the Vice President of Communications for the NCAA Bob Williams.
“Less than one percent of our athletes make it in professional sports,” said Emmert. “The rest of them become lawyers, doctors and nurses, and we want our student-athletes to benefit from the learning of becoming a student-athlete.”
Emmert told the audience that, “the NCAA don’t write our rules for the one percent that go on to the NBA, NFL, NHL or Major Baseball League, we write them for the 99 percent who aren’t.”
However, the president did not address why it was necessary for the standard to be raised after the model has produced positive results for so many years.
“I didn’t even know about this,” responded Dwan Hurt of Serra High School in Gardena.
Hurt is the head boy’s basketball coach in addition to being a Dean at the private Catholic school. He has been coach at his alma mater for 24 years and has won 14 league championships, seven California Interscholastic Federation –Southern Section titles, two regional crowns and a pair of State crowns.
“The NCAA needs to make the kids stay in college for two to three years,” Dwan Hurt, coach of Gardena Serra, insisted.
“Why did they change it?” Hurt pondered. “They should keep it as is. Why are they trying to reinvent the wheel? I don’t understand the logic behind it.”
Hurt said that his players are required to maintain grade point average of 2.5, GPA that is two points higher than what the California Interscholastic Federation requires.
“I’m not worried about the 50 that go to the NBA, they are going to be fine, they are going to do well. They are going to be wealthy and they are going to be successful. I worry about the 5,500 and that’s whom we write our rules for,” Emmert said.
The NCAA is suggesting with its new standard that while the 2.0 grade point average is the barrier for most of the nation’s high school governing bodies, it isn’t high enough.
The NCAA receives $10.8 billion from its broadcasting partners Turner and CBS Networks, an estimated $702 million in revenue for 2012-’13 for the basketball tournament.
An NCAA race related study in 2010 revealed, Blacks made up 60.9 percent of the players in men’s basketball, 45.6 percent in football and just 32 percent in women’s basketball.
Local high school basketball coaches offered varied opinions about the pending new rule and the impact it will have on Blacks and minorities.
The rule will likely impact student-athletes attending public schools school such as Crenshaw of the Los Angeles Unified School District and CIF-City Section more than private because the academic dynamics differ.
Class sizes in most public schools ranged from 30 to 40 students per class and the resources are significantly less than their private school neighbors.
“It’s going to impact the Black students who come from schools that don’t have the resources or technology. It’s a good idea, but you have to take a specific look at each situation,” lamented Crenshaw head coach Ed Waters who has led the Cougars to five consecutive league championships.
“Crenshaw is seeking to raise the bar, but we are also focused on foster children. I agree with raising the bar, but it has to be a joint effort and the NCAA has no jurisdiction over middle schools where it all begins,” Waters elaborated.
Another coach who feels it’s going to have a sever impact on Blacks and minorities is veteran Long Beach Poly girls coach Carl Buggs.
“It’s going to affect them (Blacks and minorities) greatly and it is an enormous challenge,” he said.
Buggs explained; “It doesn’t start at the high school. It needs to be addressed in elementary school. A lot of kids come from low income areas and you are really slamming them against the wall.”
Buggs will be coaching Long Beach Poly in the (CIF) D-I State title game on Saturday March 23 in Sacramento and currently has 13 former players in D-I college basketball.
While the minimum requirement for participation in CIF is 2.0, Buggs mandates that his players maintain at 2.3. He has won 15 championships (5 CIF, 4 State and 6 Regionals).
Another highly successful girls coach Victoria Sanders at Harbor City Narbonne agrees with Buggs that it starts in middle school, but points to the parents of the student-athletes.
“I think it starts in middle school with coaches and parents. If the kids take care of business in middle school the transition would be easier. Now, it’s back on the parents,” added Sanders who led Narbonne to back-to-back City championships in 2012-2013.
“I think the 2.0 says that kids can do the bare minimum and the kids now have to step up.” Narbonne girl’s team carries a 3.3 GPA.
St. John Bosco boys basketball coach Derrick Taylor had had to opportunity to coach at both a public school and now a private Catholic school.
“The public schools are not equipped with the classes and have limited resources. The class sizes are outrageously large,” said Taylor.
Taylor who spent 25 years at Woodland Hills Taft before moving to Bellflower St. John Bosco has led his teams to three City titles and this year captured the CIF-SS title.
“It’s going to be a lot tougher for kids to just enter college, especially from the Black community. I think we have to program our kids to adjust. They (the NCAA) say they want more emphasis on academics,” concluded Taylor.