Approximately 60 percent of black male football and basketball players entering the nation's major colleges and universities in two years studied would not have qualified for first-year eligibility under a modification to Proposal 48 approved by the NCAA Presidents Commission this week, according to statistics prepared a year ago for the NCAA.
Proposal 48, approved in 1983, requires a 700 score (out of 1,600) on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or a 15 (out of 36) on the American College Test, plus a 2.0 grade-point average in a core curriculum of 11 academic courses.
The commission decided to endorse an index formula, which would allow a higher grade-point average to compensate for a lower test score, or vice versa. According to staff director Ted Tow, the panel recommended "a very narrowly limited" formula with a cutoff of 1.8 grade-point average and 660 SAT.
For example, an athlete with a 1.8 grade-point average would need a 740 SAT score and an athlete with a 660 SAT score would need a 2.2 grade-point average.
According to data compiled by Advanced Technology Inc. of Reston, under the original Proposal 48, only 28 out of 100 black male basketball players and 27 out of 100 black male football players in 1977, and 29 out of 100 black male basketball players and 36 out of 100 black male football players in 1982 would have qualified for first-year eligibility.
"It's the same Rule 48 cosmetized," said Samuel Meyers, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, a group of black colleges. "They came forward with a minor change which still would have a disproportionate impact on black athletes. We've worked for a long time to be flexible. What we will do now, I don't know. But I know this is unacceptable."
Meyers said a NAFEO committee, chaired by Grambling President Joseph Johnson, would meet soon to analyze the recommendation of the commission and decide on a course of action.
The Presidents Commission also recommended modifying another section of Proposal 48, to allow a nonqualifier to receive a scholarship and still have four years' eligibility, in effect making the freshman year a redshirt year. The commission rejected sponsoring a proposal to declare all freshman football and basketball players ineligible.
The proposal by the Presidents Commission will be considered by the NCAA Council next week and will be voted on by the membership at the NCAA convention in January. Any group of six NCAA members may propose a rules change to be considered at the convention.