NASHVILLE, JAN. 13 -- NCAA Division I schools decided today not to institute the stricter athletic eligibility standards that had been approved just hours earlier.
School representatives turned down the proposal by a 162-143 vote after approving it, 163-151, earlier in the day. Division II schools, which generally have smaller athletic programs than Division I schools, approved the measure both times.
The "satisfactory progress rule" sets uniform grade-point standards for eligibility.
Effective Aug. 1, 1989, Division II athletes will need a 1.6 cumulative grade-point, based on a 4.0 scale, after their first season of competition to remain eligible. The standard increases to 1.8 after the second season and 2.0 after that.
A chief argument against the rule was that different schools have different grading standards. Opponents also said the rule would discriminate against athletes who enroll in more difficult courses.
Vanderbilt Athletic Director Roy Kramer told delegates to the NCAA Convention that the higher grade requirements would cause more athletes to major in "tourism and Canadian fly fishing."
Gwen Norrell, faculty representative from Michigan State, was a strong supporter of the rule. "This makes me even prouder to be from the Big Ten," she said.
The Big Ten is the only major Division I conference with requirements similar to those adopted by the Division II schools. Big Ten athletes must have a 1.8 cumulative grade point after their first year of competition, stepping up in succeeding seasons to 1.9 and 2.0.
The University of Maryland, which upgraded its standards after revelations of academic deficiencies among athletes in 1986, has higher requirements already for athletes in the first two years, but equal requirements after that. To be eligible, Maryland requires a 1.29 grade point average after the first semester, and 1.7 after the first year. A 2.0 average is required after the third and any subsequent years.
In a surprise move, an amendment eliminating an official date for issuing bowl invitations was withdrawn. Last fall, NCAA President Wilford S. Bailey said the rule was "frequently and flagrantly violated."