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Ferentz on new NCAA eligibility standards

Marc Morehouse, CR Gazette –

NCAA eligibility standards are changing. This might be the silent subhead for the season that ends up being a bigger story in the future.

The latest changes in eligibility standards will apply to this fall’s high school freshman class, but we won’t know their full effect until 2016, when those students prepare to step foot on college campuses. There is a jump in the required minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.3 and, perhaps more challenging, a rule that now requires high school athletes to complete 10 of their 16 required core courses prior to their senior year of high school.

Here’s a quick explainer from the NCAA:

The NCAA’s new eligibility standards for prospective student-athletes go into effect for the 2016 class but begin applying to this fall’s high school freshmen. In order to be eligible for a scholarship and compete at a Division I institution a high school student must have done the following:

16: Number of core courses required for NCAA eligibility

10: Number of core courses that must be completed by the beginning of a high school athlete’s senior year

7: Number of 10 initial core courses that must be in English, math or science

2.3: Minimum GPA in those 16 core courses (up from 2.0)

2.5: Minimum GPA for junior college transfer

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz was asked for his thoughts on the topic during Big Ten media days:

“I’m all for anything that’s going to help in that area. My only concern would be getting the word out, grassroots,” Ferentz said. “That was the challenge back in the day of the initial Prop 48 or whatever it was. How do you get the word out to all of the high school counselors? There are a lot of places in this country where people aren’t aware of that.

“When I went to Maine in 1990, we had a young man from a high school in Maine out in the middle of the state. His dad was an educator and this young guy had no idea. He was in no way qualified. He didn’t have the core courses. A lot of people think of it as an inner city issue. Hardly. There are a lot of places. That’d be my concern. The key thing with all these core courses, they need to know in ninth grade.

“I spent some tie with Phil Savage [Ferentz confidant, former NFL GM] yesterday. Phil is from Mobile. He’s in charge of the Senior Bowl now, the director. He does a lot of work in that community and we had that same conversation, just on the lack of awareness. A lot of young people and parents don’t understand. So when a guy finds out his junior year that he might be a Division I prospect and he and his parents find out there’s no way he can get the work done, that’d be my concern. If we’re adding to that list, we’ve got to get the word out sooner. That’s a real challenge.”

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