NCAA: Man The Battle Library

Submitted by Brian on August 12th, 2011 at 2:47 PM


standard APR picture lead now with more apropos-ness

[sportswriter impression] This time, they're serious. [/sportswriter impression]

No, seriously, they appear to be serious. The NCAA announced (and then quickly approved) a massive increase in the APR's toothiness by requiring a 930 for a sport to participate in postseason play, whether it's the NCAA tournament or bowl games.

That's good for Michigan, which has only brushed up against penalties due to the unprecedented transferfest that took place upon Rodriguez's arrival. Once coaching transitions are out of the way they'll be well clear of 930 in every sport. Meanwhile, teams like Purdue, Ohio State, and Indiana have all seen their basketball programs suffer sanctions for falling beneath the 925 mark. They'll have to be more careful about one-and-dones and academic risks, i.e. recruit more like John Beilein.

As far as football goes, if you're worried about the Rodriguez anchor (an 897 2008 APR), don't be. The Bylaw Blog says the 2014-2015 APR will be the first point at which the new regulation will go into effect. At that point the anchor will have rolled off. The only yearly APR number to count then will be last year's score, an okay 946. Michigan's attrition during this coaching search has been less extensive and more likely to get waived (three medical scholarships and just the one academic implosion). This year's class has a lot of 3.8 GPAs and no immediately apparent academic risks—they'll be fine.

The Bylaw Blog also says it's critical to get rid of the one year lag in the APR. Michigan won't find out its 2010-11 number until next summer. I'd also suggest the thing has to be more transparent. Right now we just get a number; in the future they have to show how they got that number, because it's serious now. It's not going to fly with people if Kentucky basketball can boot seven guys off the team and not even have its APR flinch. Each APR report should come with

  1. The number of players who got through the year.
  2. The number of players who left the team
  3. The number of players who left who the school got a pass for and why

Right now trying to figure out your APR is fraught with difficulty; it needs to be more transparent, within FERPA reason.

Other retreat items

Stewart Mandel highlights these three things as areas the NCAA will look to overhaul in the near future:

Based on comments made this week, and Thursday's evidence that these things really can come to fruition, we should expect major changes in three other areas over the next six to nine months:

• An overhaul of the current enforcement process. Emmert and the presidents spoke universally of a desire to cut down on the many "nuisance rules" (free lunches, text-message limits, etc.) that take up an inordinate amount of compliance officers' time while beefing up penalties for deliberate, egregious rules violations. This will likely include expanding the classifications for infractions from the current and vague duo of "major" and "secondary."

• Allowing individual conferences, if they so choose, to implement full cost-of-attendance scholarships (as Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany first pushed for last spring) and/or multiyear scholarships. The obvious implication is that only the richest conferences could afford to do so, which in traditional NCAA parlance represents dreaded "competitive equity" issues. But the presidents seem to be lock-step with the commissioners in believing said imbalance already exists.

• Raising initial academic eligibility standards both for high school seniors and juco transfers. No specifics were offered, but they could be along the lines of SEC commissioner Mike Slive's proposal to increase incoming students' minimum core GPA from 2.0 to 2.5.

Kelvin Sampson and his quivering upper lip are listening to "Killing Me Softly" on repeat. It's time for more Selfish Homer Perspective!

  • Overhaul enforcement to cut down on nuisance rules + hamsandwiching real violators: Can we retroactively de-major our stretching/GA violations? No? Bollocks. Good for Michigan and its general lack of "deliberate, egregious rules violations."
  • Full cost of attendance: Not relevant in football and basketball since anyone Michigan is recruiting against will implement FCOA. I guess we won't lose QB recruits to Tulsa. Good to very good in smaller sports: some elite hockey programs are D-II and may not be able to afford a system-wide FCOA; 3-5k per year can't hurt when it comes to battling OHL teams; a lot of equivalency sports do recruit against MAC-type schools that happen to be very good in some smaller sports (Akron soccer, various baseball schools) and this is basically extra scholarships for them.
  • Raising initial standards. I will believe this one when I see it but clearly good for Michigan, which is attractive to high-academic kids and never takes JUCOs.

And now the Student Welfare Gadfly perspective:

  • Enforcement overhaul: Meh.
  • FCOA: obviously good as it actually funnels some of the insane buckets of cash to the kids making those—and apparently all the ones spending it, but I'd rather it goes there than a coach or administrator.
  • Initial standards: Tricky. Slive's proposal didn't prohibit kids who fell under the standards from attending, I believe, it just prevented them from playing. Kids in school taking up roster space having to learn is good; shuffling more of them off to dubious JUCOs is not so much.

Mandel is gobsmacked by how sensible everything sounds and how quickly they made a huge structural change with the APR stuff and it's hard to argue. The NCAA seems serious this time around. Seriously.



August 12th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

...Unintended Consequences and the Law of If There's a Loophole I'll Find One will affect these changes.

That said, it's clear to me that in this instance, change is good. The current enforcement regime is so fraught with idiocy (especially the sham that is self-reporting and self-imposiiton of penalties) that it seemingly rewards schools that break the rules but are up front about it.


August 12th, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

...because even if they self-report, they receive some major pain. At the same time, there seem to be many schools that are willing to tolerate the commission of secondary violations because if they're self-reported, the penalty is akin to a bee sting.

If the pain associated with potential new violations levels 2 or 3 (somewhere between seconday and major) is somewhat severe, the compliance offices will have to concentrate on avoiding these violations instead of just uncovering them. If that happens, perhaps we'll see schools more interested in avoiding violations vice avoiding penalties.

We shall see.

Six Zero

August 12th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

when Gene Smith's crooked excuse for an athletic department gets anything more than a little sting on the wrist.  If the Buckeyes walk then the NCAA has no power, or at least no authoritative stance to use it.  Yeesh.

Zone Left

August 12th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

I'd also like to see the NCAA create some sample punishments for various infractions. For example, covering up ineligibility for one player = approximately one ethics charge, vacating wins, and two scholarships for the next year. They could (and should) caveat everything with something about varying situations, but it'll give everyone a starting point and maybe act as a deterrent to would be violators.

Cobbling the money together for random compliance sweeps might be a nice touch too.


August 12th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

I have a hard time understanding the whole APR thing for basketball, where leaving early for the NBA is such a common track. Will this affect recruiting such that schools will be more hesitant to offer the elite prospects who will most likely be one and dones? Would Kentucky know what to do with themselves?


August 12th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

I go back and forth on the academic standards.  Part of that is big-time NCAA athletics is often straddling the line between amateur competition among individuals at institutions of higher learning (you know, centers of academic acheivement and all) and de facto minor league athletic departments that make bucko bucks.

The individuals who are least likely to make academic standards are most often the ones that need scholarships the most (as in it would be difficult to get a degree without the opportunity afforded by an athletic scholarship).  As the Blind Side movie mentions, a majority of athletes that can't make D-I and go the JUCO route drop out.

I like the concept of allowing the kids on the team and letting them practice, but not allowing playing time until the grades come up.  That seems the closest thing to a win-win in my book.


August 12th, 2011 at 3:30 PM ^

I really like the idea of the return of what was once Prop 48, allowing scholarship support but no participation or travel unless they achieve a higher qualifying score above the now minimum. If I was Emmert, i'd try to require a high school GPA of 3.0 in core courses to play as a freshman. That seems a reasonable proxy for 'able to successfully manage time and succeed academically.' 'Marginal qualifiers' eligible in 2nd year if they maintain a 2.0 in their first college year.

Why did Prop 48 go away, anyway?

Chippewa Blue

August 12th, 2011 at 3:28 PM ^

The FCOA scares me as a MAC fan/student. Like Brian said teams like Akron soccer would be hurt most likely. Which is too bad because those smaller sports that suceed are huge points of pride for us (at Central it's women's soccer, softball and baseball mostly). Also might make us lose the one or two big(-ish) recruits a year it seems we as a conference seem to steal from the big guys for whatever reason in football and basketball (think Trey Zeigler)


August 12th, 2011 at 3:29 PM ^

These guys are morons.  If enforcing "tiny" rules consumes too much time and manpower (query how that could be, on a ten-year perspective, where the NCAA is drowning in cash, but whatever), then you don't just abandon them.  Nor do you increase penalties on "big rule violations."   

This is not an uncommon issue.  Example: your taxes.  IRS doesn't audit everyone; does "random" audits, where: 1) its your burden to have records showing compliance, and 2) If they find a violation, burdensome penalties.  VERY common structure. It's Admin Law 101.

So, if NCAA wants to decrease burden, then INCREASE penalties on the TINY rule violations!!!!  I.e: we're not gonna monitor you as close, we'll do random audits on the issue,  but if we come in and find you don't havae records, and/or you've been doing illegal stuff, we'll HAMMER you.   Morons in the NCAA

BTW, OSU (that model of propriety) did it again:  just yanked off their web page a copy of their OWN March 8 "Self Report to NCCA", a day after I disclosed the false statements made there and in their July 7 NCAA Response. see    (See also how Gee and Smith have their own, personal Rule 10.1 Bylaw ethical violations



Zone Left

August 12th, 2011 at 4:32 PM ^

I think there are a couple of problems with your analysis, but it primarily revolves around the NCAA being run by its member schools. It isn't the government and doesn't have the government's authority or resources. The member schools don't want to deal with reporting that Coach X ran into a local recruit at the store and said "hi" before the recruit said "hi" and other innocuous items like that. Schools don't want to deal with it and so they told the organization they created to oversee athletics to change the rules.

Second, the system relies completely on self-reporting. There are two ways a violation comes to light: the school reports it or the media uncovers it. The member schools haven't given the NCAA the staff to act as "cops on the beat" looking for suspicious activity. They've given the NCAA the staff to act as "detectives" who investigate allegations once they come to light. Hammering schools for an extra phone call would just result in schools not reporting the damn phone call, because they wouldn't want to lose a scholarship per phone call or whatever brutal punishment the NCAA came up with.

I think schools are getting interested in catching serious violators because they don't want to follow the rules while their rival down south gets away with pretty serious stuff. 


August 12th, 2011 at 3:34 PM ^

to propose a sliding GPA scale for initial eligibility?  What I mean is that a college or university's inital eligibilty should be based on the academic rigors of the school.  Take a 3- or 5-year average of the school's overall GPA and make certain deductions to account for athletic prowess.  This may hurt the schools but it would help ensure that the (student-) athlete has a better chance to succede academically as opposed to someone who would never have a chance to cut it academically without signifcant help from the university.  I had several classes with mulitple athletes throughout all four years at UofM and some days I would walk about of class and say "There is no way so-and-so understood a thing that was said in class"...and then have to carry their weight in group projects (I don't want to name names incase they read this and try to find me and beat me up but there were several baseball players including a catcher, 2 linebackers come to mind, and Michael Phelps was a moron - he doesnt really count but I wanted to say it out loud).  By no means is this all encompassing and many, if not most, athletes are true student-athletes but the big time sports definitely had some of the lowest grade getters - and it wasn't their fault.  They just simply could not keep up academically and needed signicant help to remain eligible.  If the goal of the NCAA is truely to perpetuate the well-being of the student-athlete (and not the athlete-bairlypassingstudent) this makes sense.  The kid has proven they can cut it athletelically but that is only half of the equation.  I don't know.  I'm trying to quit smoking some maybe its just the little nicotine monsters in my head talking...goin to buy more gum


August 12th, 2011 at 6:18 PM ^

The biggest beef I have with this and its probably b/c I dont understand the whole process is why do transfers effect the APR score? Im all for trying to get college's to work harder on student athletes ademicas but why should someone who wants to transfer hurt APR?

I dont get it....