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We Think... The NCAA needs to have stricter requirements for student athletes
Aquoia Johnson
Friday, November 08, 2019

    The NCAA, otherwise known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for student athletes as they go to college. They distribute more than $3.3 billion in scholarships each year, and their three main priorities are the academics, well-being and equality of their college athletes. They provide a list of services for the best interest of their athletes and staff, while nonathlete students are left to struggle.

    The NCAA Eligibility Center requires at least a 2.3 GPA to play a sport at a Division I school and a 2.2 GPA for Division II, meanwhile the average college requires at least a 3.0 unweighted GPA. When a student is enrolled at a Division I school, there are more scholarships, department funds and generally better sports team, making it easier to be a successful athlete, yet they only require little from their athletes academic wise. 

    Division I athletes are required to complete 16 approved core classes with a passing grade of a D or higher and earn an ACT or SAT combined sum score that matches the core-course GPA on the Division I scale. Athletes must complete these simple requirements during high school in order to be eligible, but they have options for athletes that do not meet the basic requirements, which is unfair and raises questions. If an athlete does not meet the academic requirements, they still need to complete 16 courses and have a SAT or ACT combined sum score, but they at least need a GPA of 2.0. And if a student feels as if they will not meet the requirement, they recommended talking to a counselor to see what other steps can be taken, but if a star student athlete does not make the requirements still, some may question if they will they turn them away, or will they be given another chance. 

    The website explicitly states, “If you have not met all the Division I academic requirements, you may not compete in your first year at college. However, if you qualify as an academic redshirt you may practice during your first term in college and receive an athletics scholarship for the entire year.” In other words, if an athlete does not meet the criteria, they still may be accepted and allowed to play, just not their first year, yet they will continue to receive an athletic scholarship. A large majority of scholarships and programs that help with financials have strict requirements, and if those requirements are not met, there is an almost definite rejection. Second chances don’t exist. Student athletes having such privileges is unfair to other students. When someone who is an athlete failed to meet the basic requirements, but is still given many other options and rewarded for it, it puts other students at a disadvantage. 

    When a student athlete does their research on the NCAA and look at the requirements needed to be considered, some may begin to slack in their classes because academically, there is not much needed. School not only teaches academics, but it also teaches important social and life skills that many need to be successful both on and off of the field. If a student is lacking some of these skills and something happens in his or her career and is unfortunately unable to play anymore, they are behind their peers in more ways than one. 

    We believe the NCAA needs to have stricter requirements for the best interest of their student athletes. Their three priorities are academics, well-being and equality of their athletes, but when athletes lack the proper education and the NCAA encourages that, it sets them up for failure. Overall, the NCAA is a great thing for athletes to be a part of, but there needs to be stricter requirements. High school is the foundation point for many athletes. It is the start of their athletic careers and both college and the NCAA will help them prepare for their long journey. By ensuring athletes have the best education, it does nothing but improve their overall performance, so the NCAA should reconsider a change.