Academic performance may soon follow coaches

Coaches might soon be held to a new academic standard, which could help or hurt them if they apply for different coaching positions in the NCAA. The NCAA Committee on Academic Performance held meetings on Monday and Tuesday of this week to discuss the possibility of making a coachâÄôs academic success more public. The focus was linking the coach and his or her teamâÄôs academic progress rates. Joel Maturi, athletics director at the University of Minnesota, said this is a very debatable and controversial topic. âÄúMost coaches at this level get hired for winning and losing,âÄù Maturi said. âÄúI donâÄôt know of any coach who does not want their kids to stay and graduate. Obviously there are many reasons that people end up not doing so.âÄù The NCAA is also discussing a new academic progress rate designed specifically for coaches, along with new penalties, all of which would follow coaches if they leave for another college or university. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said the Division I Board of Directors told the Committee on Academic Performance to examine how such a rate could be developed and tracked. They are set to report back to the Board of Directors on Thursday. âÄúCoaches are educators, so they certainly have influence over academic performance,âÄù Christianson said. âÄúOf course, student-athletes are held responsible for their own individual academic progress, and teams and schools are also held accountable through the academic performance program and the academic progress rate.âÄù Maturi said the NCAA has done a good job implementing the academic progress rates, but this decision should not be rushed. âÄúI think you have to be careful on putting all of the illness on coaches,âÄù he said. When hiring coaches at the University, Maturi said he knows how to look at the numbers and take everything into perspective. âÄúI would want to know why a coach had the numbers he or she had,âÄù he said. âÄúIf it follows you, and youâÄôre losing scholarships, then there is reason to be concerned.âÄù Maturi has not discussed the NCAAâÄôs proposal with coaches because the details have not been clearly presented yet. Christianson said he expects the next round of academic progress rates to come out in early May. The University is in the process of submitting the data for this yearâÄôs report, Director of the McNamara Academic Center Mark Nelson said. Nelson and the centerâÄôs staff interact with coaches daily, he said, and the culture of the team is set by the head coach. If coachesâÄô academic success was made public, prospective student-athletes and their parents could look at coachesâÄô records from each institution to see how they stack up, Nelson said. Academic progress rates are measured on eligibility and retention of student-athletes on scholarship for that particular year, according to the NCAA. Student-athletes are awarded one point for each semester they are enrolled and one point for each semester of athletic eligibility.