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NCAA approves plans to assist limited resource and HBCU programs

The NCAA Committee on Academics has approved a plan to continue to assist limited-resource schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities in improving the academic success of their student-athletes.

Traditionally, Academic Progress Rates (APR) of teams at limited resource schools and HBCUs have lagged behind the rates of teams at other Division I schools, though the rate for these schools has increased 16 points in the last four years. Teams from those schools also are penalized more often for academic shortcomings. These schools often have a clearly stated mission to provide access to educational opportunities to a broad group of students, including those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college.

An advisory group comprised of representatives from limited-resource schools and HBCUs studied the issue and recommended a three part plan. The plan includes a continuation of the existing filters, with a subtle shift in how schools use filters that relieve them of Academic Performance Program penalties. Also, the recommendations involve stronger requirements for schools writing and implementing Academic Progress Rate improvement plans and a robust educational component. Greg Burke, athletics director at Northwestern State University and a member of the Committee on Academics, chaired the advisory group.

“We agreed that all Division I schools must be committed to the foundational principle of the Academic Performance Program and the academic success of students,” Burke said. “At the same time, these schools serve a very important role and serve an under-represented population in many cases. We tried to balance both of those considerations with our recommendations to the Committee on Academics.”

Under the new recommendations, the filters that allowed schools to escape penalties based on various factors – including resource level, mission and academic improvement – would be available only twice over a five-year period. The filters had been available every year. The committee will revisit this issue at the close of the five-year period. Also the committee approved a comprehensive educational programming approach aimed at helping schools improve academic performance.

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