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Day Two of NCAA Presidential Retreat recap

NCAA President Mark Emmert and over 50 University Presidents and Chancellors wrapped up the second day of their two-day retreat to discuss issues in college athletics in Indianapolis today. In case you missed it, here’s the Day One recap.

As I mentioned before, the purpose of the retreat was not to throw 100 ideas at a wall and see which ones stick; it was about taking fewer, more manageable items and putting them into motion. And Emmert says he wants it done quickly -- like, within the next year.

Here were some of the ideas on tap earlier today:

  • Raising the minimum Academic Progress Rate (APR) score, which is a calculation used to evaluate whether each team at a school is making sufficient progress toward graduation, from 925 to 930. Emmert proposed a strong stance that if a school does not meet the minimum score, it would result in a postseason ban in all sports. Good luck getting that to fly, but it sticks with the theme that it’s always easier to pull back than it is to push something further.

  • Creating newer, more rigorous academic standards for incoming freshman and JUCO transfers that could incorporate standardized testing scores and more core classes taken during high school. Again, this corresponds with what SEC Commissioner Mike Slive introduced this idea in his four-pronged plan for change during SEC Media Days when he suggested the minimum high school for eligibility be increased from a 2.0 to a 2.5.

  • Completely rewriting the NCAA rulebook to enforce much stiffer penalties for major “intentional” infractions, while cutting back on the “nit picky” bylaws that are sometimes broken by accident. The streamlining of the rulebook, which currently puts everybody to sleep at a 439 pages, is a critical part in modernizing amateur sports. Last week, the NCAA leadership council said it will work on a proposal to deregulate electronic communications, allowing coaches and recruits to talk after Aug. 1 of the player’s junior year on an unlimited basis.

  • But just as the NCAA is looking to back off on minor violations, they will be stepping up enforcement efforts on major violations (0r, so they say). Don’t be surprised if the NCAA uses more postseason bans and TV bans as punishment down the road.

  • Or, in the words of Penn State President Graham Spanier:

    “Some of these things our coaches and our boosters might not like, but I think we need to do what you’re going to see in the next year. I think coaches and boosters should now be afraid if they go out and break the rules now because we’re going to de-emphasize the petty stuff and focus on the bigger things. So the cheaters, the rule-breakers, the folks that are trying to disrupt intercollegiate athletics in this country are going to be held more accountable than in the past.”

At this point, nothing has been passed and these are merely topics of conversation. But I think it can be universally agreed upon that the NCAA is in need of a major overhaul and it was good to see that Emmert plans on making some extraordinary changes to the status quo. Will all of them be passed exactly as they were drawn up for the last two days? Probably not, but the important legwork of getting things out on the floor for discussion was accomplished.