The Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader and national president of Operation PUSH, has requested a meeting with Walter Byers, executive director of the NCAA, to discuss a rule passed at the recent NCAA convention requiring athletes to meet a minimum score on standardized entrance exams to be eligible to compete or to practice as freshmen.
The rule applies only to the 277 schools in Division I.
"We want to strike while the iron is hot," said Frank Watkins, Jackson's press secretary. Watkins said that Jackson would bring Jesse Stone Jr., the president of Southern University, and Joseph Johnson, the president of Grambling State, with him.
They have said their options include legal action and withdrawal from the NCAA and from the American Council on Education, whose ad hoc athletic committee wrote and pushed for passage of the new rule.
Byers could not be reached for comment, but John Toner, NCAA president and athletic director at the University of Connecticut, said he had talked to Byers Thursday night and that the meeting "could (be scheduled) if concerned educators requested it and wanted to be there." The meeting would be at NCAA headquarters in Mission, Kan.
Stone and Johnson are among the leaders of the 16 historically black schools in Division I who enlisted Jackson's help after having described the new rule as "discriminatory and patently racist." They say that the test scores discrimate against blacks, other minorities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.