Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said it would be best to wait until after the NCAA’s new initial eligibility standards take effect in 2016 before considering whether to keep freshmen off the field.
Slive said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that if the goal is to improve graduation rates and grade-point averages, “we have to remember that each college student has his or her own academic challenges.”
“To put a blanket over these student-athletes with a year on the bench doesn’t address those individual needs to incentivize academic progress. Many students do come to college prepared both academically and athletically ready to compete in the classroom and in competition, and to penalize those students with a universal policy may create unintended consequences not beneficial to many student-athletes,” he said.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has said he wants his conference to consider making freshmen ineligible in football and men’s basketball, and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and Bob Bowlsby have expressed support for at least examining the possibility.
But Delany has stressed the Big Ten could not act alone on a “year of readiness” for freshman football and basketball players because it would put the conference at a competitive disadvantage.
Slive’s statement made it clear the SEC has no interest in diving into the freshman eligibility question for at least a couple of years.
The NCAA initial eligibility standards go up starting with the freshman class of 2016. To be immediately eligible for competition, prospective student-athletes must have at least a 2.3 GPA, with a sliding scale tied to SAT scores. An SAT score of 1,000 requires a 2.5 high school core-course GPA for competition and a 2.0 high school core-course GPA for aid and practice.
Prospects also must successfully complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of their senior year in high school.
“A lot of thought and preparation went into the new initial eligibility rules that go into effect in 2016. It is more appropriate to implement these new regulations and understand their impact before applying additional eligibility restrictions that may be more cosmetic than effective,” Slive said.
Most college sports leaders have spoken out against the NBA’s rule requiring American players to be 19 years old and a year out of high school to be drafted. The rule has created the so-called one-and-done player in college basketball.
“If this proposal is about student-athletes turning professional, we need to be careful not to create rules for a few that penalize the many,” Slive said.
SPURRIER’S ON TWITTER: The Head Ball Coach has new forum for his one-liners: South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier has joined Twitter.
Spurrier sent his first social media Tweet from the handle @SC-HBC on Monday. Spurrier’s first message included thanking all the past players he coached while at Duke, Florida and at South Carolina. Spurrier’s son, Gamecocks receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Steve Jr., Tweeted a picture of his father using his phone to post with the words, “It’s true.”
KELLY ADDS TO HIS STAFF: Coach Brian Kelly added Boise State offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, Notre Dame career rushing leader Autry Denson and former Irish defensive back Todd Lyght to his staff.
Kelly also announced Monday he has hired North Carolina defensive line coach Keith Gilmore and named former Irish quarterback Ron Powlus as director of player development.
Sanford is the first coordinator Kelly has hired since arriving on campus in 2010 that he hadn’t worked with previously.
Around the nation
North Carolina hired Charlton Warren as defensive backs coach. ... Mike Rollo, a former Tennessee athletic trainer who worked more than 30 years at the school in a variety of roles, has died. He was 59.