The “cut rate” that will establish acceptable program and graduation standards will be calculated after the collection of data this year. While holding universities accountable for academic progress, the program will take into account institutional differences in sport, mission, culture and gender.

Data will be collected in 2003-04 and 2004-05, after which the appropriate thresholds for incentives and penalties will be arrived at. The NCAA will establish a new committee, the Committee on Academic Performance, or CAP, to oversee the academic reform program. CAP will report to the NCAA Division One Management Council and Board of Directors and be chaired by Walter Harrison, member of the Division One Board of Directors and president of the University of Hartford.

Final recommendations regarding penalties will be determined by CAP and provided to the NCAA membership before any teams would be subject to sanctions.

Summer financial aid. This measure provides universities and colleges with the option to extend financial aid to incoming student-athletes the summer before their freshman year, so that these student-athletes can begin to reach their academic goals. The Board directed President Brand to establish a task force to develop a formal plan for implementation to be considered at its August meeting.

Brand stressed that the new academic accountability requirements for universities and teams build on new academic standards established last fall for student-athletes to ensure steady progress toward the completion of their degree. Those measures include requiring student-athletes to complete forty percent of degree requirements by the end of their 2nd year of college, sixty percent by the end of their 3rd year and eighty percent by the end of year 4.

In related action, the Board of Directors eliminated the current restrictions on the number of initial basketball grants-in-aid for student-athletes, known as the “5/8” rule. Some NCAA member coaches and administrators felt the rule was detrimental because it did not take into account the various factors that cause student-athletes to transfer or leave school in good academic standing.

A number of provisions described as “student-athlete-friendly” by Board members were also approved today, including:

Cost of attendance. This measure gives student-athletes more access to financial aid, up to the full cost of university attendance. This would include financial aid not related to athletics, including but not limited to such awards as the federal Pell Grant. This measure is effective from Aug. 1.

Medical Insurance. This measure permits universities and colleges to cover medical expenses for student-athletes’ injuries that occur at any time, whether or not they are athletically related.

Other measures approved by the board today include:

  • Foreign Tours. This measure permits foreign tours by Division One sports teams, as long as they do not occur within thirty days before the 1st permissible practice date. The measure takes effect Nov. 1 but honors contracts for foreign tours signed before October 21, 2003.

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