Two-Year Transfers May Face Tougher Academic Standards
By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The NCAA News
Student-athletes who transfer to Division I institutions from two-year colleges could be asked to meet an increased academic standard in the future.
The Division I Academic Cabinet and the Committee on Academic Performance met jointly in Indianapolis this week, and the groups indicated a desire to strengthen standards for two-four transfers.
All of the proposed changes are based on new data collected in the most recent Academic Performance Program data-collection process. For example, the data show that once a prospective student-athlete attends a two-year institution, the prospect’s high school work is less predictive of success at a four-year institution than is the work done at the two-year school. That data, and a desire to simplify the process, led the cabinet and committee to begin discussions about holding all two-four transfers to the same standard, regardless of qualifier status coming out of high school.
Several possible changes are on the table, increasing the overall and transferrable-credit grade-point average minimum and adjusting core-course requirements. The group also reacted favorably to the possibility of extending to all student-athletes a recently adopted rule limiting men’s basketball student-athletes to two hours of transferrable physical education activity credits.
Current rules treat two-four transfers differently depending on transfer status. Those who were nonqualifiers out of high school must have graduated from the two-year college and completed a minimum number of 48 semester or 72 quarter hours of transferable credit. Qualifiers must earn only 12 transferable credit hours.
The two bodies also discussed the possibility of increasing the minimum grade-point average, which data show is highly predictive of future academic success. Current rules require two-four transfers to earn at least a 2.0 GPA in transferable credit. The group was interested in exploring an increase in that minimum, as well as including a similar overall GPA requirement (in all courses, not just those that transfer). Adding the overall GPA component was important to the group because of the measure’s ability to predict success at the four-year institution.
Where exactly the line will be drawn is uncertain, but initial discussions indicated it is likely to fall somewhere between 2.0 and 2.6. The group set as a goal the reduction of “false positives” (transfers who meet minimum requirements but eventually fail academically) while minimizing “false negatives” (transfers who don’t meet minimum requirements but could succeed if given the opportunity).
The groups spent some time discussing the core-course requirements for two-four transfers. Currently, two-four transfers who were nonqualifiers out of high school must earn six transferable credit hours in English and three in math. Discussion centered on adding additional core-course requirements.
Data show that transferable science credit could play a role in increasing future academic success, and research also illustrates that physical education credits have a negative impact on future academic success. In other words, the more physical education credits a student-athlete earns at the two-year institution, the lower the chances are for academic success at a four-year school.
The group also would like to see a recent rule addressing this issue among men’s basketball student-athletes expanded to include student-athletes in all sports. The rule, which takes effect August 1, allows men’s basketball players to transfer a maximum of two physical education activity credits. Exceptions would be made for physical education majors.
The Committee on Academic Performance and the cabinet included representatives from the two-year college community in their conversations, and all groups said they were interested in pursuing a concept that would allow for significant remediation of some student-athletes at the two-year college level, with possible adjustments to the progress-toward-degree requirements that would permit more time at the two-year college to meet the academic transfer requirements. The concept would not permit any athletics competition during the student’s first year at the two-year institution. Other details, including how a prospective student-athlete would qualify for such a path, would have to be worked out, but the groups were all interested in pursuing the idea further.
The Academic Cabinet will continue its work on the issue at its next meeting in September.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association