The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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The NCAA Makes It Easier for Stupid Athletes

Hey high school athletes, are you worried about getting an athletic scholarship to the institute of higher learning of your choice?

Do you hate taking tests, especially a certain one that makes you answer questions for four hours on a Saturday morning?

Well, worry no more.

Because thanks to newly appointed NCAA president Myles Brand, the NCAA has decided to remove the student from student-athlete, making it easier for you, the aspiring college athlete, to do poorly in the classroom and still remain eligible for intercollegiate play.

In order to participate at the collegiate level, high school athletes have had to do two things – get 820 on the SAT and have a 2.0 grade point average.

If you couldn’t do both of those, you had to sit out your freshman season – no ifs, ands or buts.

Seems like a real easy thing to do, right? A 2.0 GPA, for all you math majors, is a C, or as they do it in high school, a 70. Not real tough.

When taking the SAT, it is important to remember that putting your name at the top of the test nets you a 400. So within the first five minutes, you’re already halfway to achieving a qualifying score.

Also, keep in mind that only four percent of students who take the SAT score lower than 700 and that the national average is 1020.

Now, thanks to Brand, a sliding scale will be put into effect Aug. 1, 2003 and will affect current high school seniors.

All you need is that magical 400 on the SAT, which basically says, “If you have a high GPA, just show up, write your name and go home. Or perhaps having to wake up on Saturday morning at 8 is too taxing, so use your desk as a pillow and take a nap.”

The lower your score, the higher your GPA has to be. There are no set boundaries anymore; it’s a case by case basis.

Keep in mind that the 820 number had been lowered from 900 about five years ago. That was only a precursor to now, when the SAT has been made irrelevant.

Legislation like this is basically saying that it is okay to be a moron, as long as you can play a sport.

There is no way that any regular student who got a 530 combined on his or her SAT would get into a Stanford or a Georgetown, even if they had a 4.0 GPA or did 15 extra-curricular activities.

But what could be the worst part of this, is that the university presidents of the NCAA member schools voted to make this happen.

The people in charge of everyone’s academic well-being said it was fine to let sub-par students in, if they could dribble, pitch or swim better than the rest.

It is no longer in the coaches’ hands to decide whom the university accepts.

They can now go after anyone they think can help their program, and will be eligible, thanks to these new rules.

Some schools, like Michigan, don’t accept partial qualifiers. If you’re not eligible as a freshman, they say, you can’t come here.

Now, the decision on admission falls squarely on the highest-ranking official at each school.

St. John’s president the Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., was one of the few presidents that voted against it.

“I think a good portion of the people who voted for it basically have felt that they really don’t want to have any SAT,” said St. John’s Associate Vice President of Athletics Kathy Meehan. “They think there’s all this empirical evidence that says the SAT is not a predictor of college success.

“I can’t speak for other institutions because we did not support the legislation but each institution has to decide which students they’ll take and not take.”

Another of Brand’s pet projects has been to lead a crusade against the poor graduation rates that many schools are reporting.

One of the problems is the way in which the numbers are compiled, namely, athletes who transfer in and out of schools.

For example, four years ago, Heath Orvis was a freshman basketball player here.

After completing his first year, he transferred to Morningside College in Iowa to play basketball.

Orvis counts against St. John’s graduation rate because he left.

Even if he graduates on time in May, Morningside will get the credit, while St. John’s gets punished for Orvis’ decision to leave and will see its numbers drop.

This goes on in every sport, and it screws up graduation rates across the board.

There are some schools that don’t graduate any players in a particular sport (Cincinnati, Arkansas) but these unfair rules and regulations make the situation seem bleaker than it really is.

Now think of how bad the graduation rates will be because of the new legislation. Letting sub-standard students in might cause those numbers to decline further.

If they couldn’t handle the work in high school, how will they handle it in college?

How will they stay eligible to play, and if they don’t, will they just leave or jump to the pros, further hurting the academic side of the athletic department?

Will an athlete at a prestigious school like Northwestern or Pennsylvania jump to a lower Division-I school where the classes are easier, keeping him or her eligible?

Will the softness of the courses play a decision in the factor of incoming athletes?

It’s a vicious cycle of questions that, right now, seem to have no answers.

Jason Della Rosa is a senior journalism major who wants to see the student stay in student-athlete. So athletes, please go to class and play attention. Send comments to [email protected].

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