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Report: Cal to up admission standards for men’s basketball, football players

Cuonzo Martin

Cuonzo Martin sits at a news conference as he is introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at California in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, April 15, 2014. California hired Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as its coach Tuesday, charging him with taking over another program after a successful run by his predecessor. Martin replaces Mike Montgomery, who retired last month after six seasons in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


Fed up with low graduation rates for student-athletes, in particular those that play football and men’s basketball, Cal will be implementing a stricter admissions policy and higher academic requirements for incoming athletes, according to a report from the AP.

The school put together a 20-man task force to determine ways to improve academic performance for student-athletes. The story says that Cal’s men’s basketball team only graduated 38% of their players enrolled between 2003 and 2006, fourth-lowest of all major conference teams, and laid out Cal’s APR scores, whose four-year averages have dipped from 967 in 2008-2009 to 939.

“There previously had been a special process to screen applications from student-athletes,” the report said. “But professor Panos Papadopoulos, the chair of the academic senate that makes all decisions regarding undergraduate admissions, said athletes will now be considered under the same process of other applicants with ‘special talents,’ like musicians.”

The new admission requirements will be in place for the incoming freshmen in 2015-2016, and the goal is to increase graduation rates to more than 90%.

Cal hired Cuonzo Martin as a replaced for Mike Montgomery after Monty retired this spring. Martin, who played at Purdue and coached at Missouri State and Tennessee previously, doesn’t have many west coast contacts, but he did hire ace recruiter Yanni Hufnagel away from Vandy. Hufnagel has strong recruiting ties in the state and is one of the best high-academic recruiters in the country. He helped Tommy Amaker build Harvard and played a major role in Vandy’s recent recruiting successes.

These admission restrictions will make things more difficult for Martin and his staff as they try to build the Bears into a Pac-12 powerhouse, but there are pieces in place for the program to continue to be successful.

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