Athlete rule is inflexible

Student athletes don’t need an arbitrary degree timeline.

Editorial board

Preliminary findings of a recent NCAA survey show that a majority of faculty athletics representatives in big college sports programs say they see athletes clustering in certain majors, and they point to the majorsâÄô light schedule and NCAA requirements as the reason why.

The NCAA instated the âÄúprogress toward degreeâÄù requirement a few years ago, which mandates that student athletes complete 40 percent of major coursework by the end of their second year and 20 percent more each year after. The survey says the rule has resulted in student athletes choosing majors that will make abiding by it easier. Majors that require time in the lab or studio would make it almost impossible to both meet the requirement and attend practice. This raises questions of whether student-athletes have the freedom to study what they want while in college.

In a September article on the issue, the NCAAâÄôs associate director of research said, âÄúIf peopleâÄôs behaviors are being influenced by the rules that weâÄôre writing âĦ we have to look at them.âÄù In light of the NCAA survey, the âÄúprogress toward degreeâÄù requirement does more harm than good, and itâÄôs time to get rid of it. Student athletes should have the freedom to study any subject they want to, and they should be encouraged to do so.

As it currently exists, athletes who arenâÄôt interested in pursuing a degree are still all but forced to go to college. Those who donâÄôt want to pursue a degree should not be compelled to. ItâÄôs understandable that the NCAA feels responsible for students who spend all their time in college playing sports and leave with few job skills or direction, but encouraging student athletes to take their studies seriously should be left up to the school that enrolled them.