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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Things are a changin'.

In summary, the NCAA is going to require that student athletes proceed on track to a degree every semester. Any athletes who do not will be counted against the "Academic Progress Rate." Schools will have to maintain an APR that should graduate half their players in five years or lose scholarships, which seems exceedingly generous... until you hear that a full 30% of DI football programs and 20% of baskeball programs would be docked scholarships if this plan existed today!

The impact of this will be wide ranging, but I'm not quite sure what the net effect will be. Every school will be reinforcing their academic support staff and crafting classes for their academic stragglers. A lot of guys who wouldn't have graduated will probably get a diploma now, but it'll be in something like "Garden Gnome Placement." Schools will probably have to shy away from severe academic risks, whereas now they can just oversign every year and expect that several kids will fail out.

This should be a net benefit for UM. Michigan does a good job of keeping kids eligible but a not so good job of getting them graduated according to the not-very-reliable NCAA measure, which fails to account for players leaving schools while in good academic standing. The new system will account for this, so someone like Shazor leaving early won't count against UM unless he hadn't made sufficient progress towards a degree. Michigan will not face severe compliance problems. Schools like Alabama and LSU may, but have the resources available to avoid major issues. Mid-majors looking to poach everyone's problems to field a competitive team will be hit hard.