<
>

410 D-I teams below NCAA academic standard

2/28/2005

INDIANAPOLIS -- More than 400 sports teams at the nation's
Division I schools could lose scholarships next year under the
NCAA's new academic standards, according to a report released
Monday.

Most of the scholarship losses, which would be for one year,
were expected in football, baseball and men's basketball.

Of the 5,270 Division I teams, about 410 risk penalties. About
half of the nation's 328 Division I schools have at least one team
that could face sanctions, according to the NCAA's preliminary
report.

"We hope the behavior changes and the number of teams will
actually go down over time," NCAA president Myles Brand said in a
conference call.

The NCAA's new calculation generates a score between 0 and
1,000. The number is determined by a points formula that rewards
long-term eligibility and retention of student-athletes. Programs
can lose points when athletes transfer, drop out, leave for the
pros or become academically ineligible while still at the school.

Football, baseball and men's basketball were the only sports
with averages below a 925-point cutline at which penalties would be
assessed. Baseball teams averaged 922, while football and men's
basketball were at 923.

Penalties, however, will not be imposed unless an at-risk school
loses a player who would have been academically ineligible. Some
schools could lose scholarships in the fall.

The most prominent programs that appeared in the deepest trouble
were the men's basketball teams at Fresno State and Baylor. Fresno
State received a 611, while Baylor scored 647 -- a figure affected
by the transfer of several players after the 2003 shooting death of
Patrick Dennehy.

Of the teams currently in the Top Ten of the The Associated
Press' men's college basketball poll, three -- Kentucky, Washington
and Louisville -- are below the cutoff and in danger of losing
scholarships. None of the football programs that finished in the
AP's Top 10 last year missed the cutoff point.

Officials from some schools expressed their concerns with the
scores.

At Maryland-Baltimore County, the men's indoor track team scored
a 600 -- a figure athletic director Charles Brown had already told
NCAA officials was wrong.

"To be considered well below the cutline is very embarrassing
and it hurts our recruiting," Brown said. "It's extremely
upsetting that the NCAA released something when they know there are
some flaws. This is an honors institution."

The new calculation gives an athlete one point each semester for
staying academically eligible and another point for staying in
school. For instance, a perfect score for a 13-member basketball
team at a semester school would be 52.

The total number of points a team actually receives is divided
by the maximum possible total to get a percentage, which is
converted to the 1000-point scale.

Some teams below the cutline will not be penalized because of a
statistical adjustment that will help eliminate anomalies for teams
with fewer athletes; others can apply for a waiver. Programs can
lose scholarships for up to one year and no team can lose more than
10 percent of what it offers.

"This represents the implementation of the most far-reaching
academic reform in decades," Brand said. "It holds schools
accountable for the performance of their student-athletes."

Monday's report only indicates how schools are doing based on
data collected from the 2003-04 academic year. No penalties will be
enforced until data from the 2004-05 school year are included.

Schools are expected to be notified in December of the final
results, and programs must take the penalties as early as possible.
Some schools could opt to take their punishment in the fall if they
expect penalties.

Stronger sanctions, such as postseason bans for consistently
poor long-term academic performance, are expected to be enforced by
the fall of 2008.