The NCAA President's Commission and the American Council on Education's Committee on Division I are in agreement on the basics of a plan to modify controversial Proposition 48, which sets minimum standards, effective in 1986, for first-year eligibility in Division I.
As it now stands, Proposition 48 will require a 2.0 (out of 4.0) grade-point average in a core curriculum of 11 academic courses and a minimum score of 700 (out of 1,600) on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or 15 (out of 36) on the American College Test. A recent study showed that only 18 percent of black male athletes would have qualified under Proposition 48.
Under the modification favored by the president's commission and the ACE committee, both criteria still will be used, but on a sliding scale. Thus, as an athlete has a higher grade-point average, he needs a lower test score.
"I'm hopeful we can arrive at a solution that's agreeable to all the parties," said Bob Atwell, acting president of ACE. "That may be an excessive amount of optimism, but I think we have an opportunity to do it. I sure hope the NCAA Council will agree to support what the presidents' commission has recommended."
According to Harvard professor Robert Klitgaard, who devised the plan for the ACE committee, it is more accurate than Proposition 48 in identifying high academic risks among athletes, while also making more athletes eligible.
The president's commission will announce its recommendation at a press conference Wednesday in Indianapolis. According to a commission source, it does not recommend any scale, pending further analysis of additional data to be available this week.
According to an NCAA-commissioned study, 51 percent of black males and 94 percent of white males would have qualified for first-year eligibility using Klitgaard's method. Also 51 percent of those black males and 60 percent of those white males would have graduated.
A special NCAA committee had recommended three possible modifications, including Klitgaard's. But the members of the committee favored a modification basing eligibility on a 2.0 core curriculum, and allowing a 700 minimum test score to be used only if the 2.0 core average was not achieved.