E-Net News

NCAA President Brand announces new graduation standard

NCAA President Myles Brand spoke during a symposium on college athletics Wednesday, Sept. 6 at Elon, announcing a new goal of an 80 percent graduation rate for Division I student-athletes. Details…

Brand made the announcement during a speech in Whitley Auditorium on the current state of college athletics, saying the new benchmark is “a meaningful, realistic goal for academic reform.” Currently, the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of student-athletes nationwide is 76 percent. Brand said he believes academic reform efforts, including new standards for entering freshmen and enrolled athletes and penalties for teams that are academically deficient, make the 80 percent goal attainable.

>>Listen to Myles Brand's comments on the new graduation standard

Brand said academic reform in college athletics, put in place two years ago, is working. Now is the time, he said, to "stay the course."

>>Listen to Myles Brand's comments on academic reforms now in place

Brand also called for a moderation in the growth of college athletics departments, saying that athletics “has been growing at rates two to three times that for the rest of the university.” Brand said a presidential task force, whose report will be made public next month, has found that “the rapid growth of intercollegiate athletics combined with increased television exposure of the university through sports has led to a mindset that spending in athletics equates with success for the university as a whole.” Brand said slowing down spending in athletics is largely the responsibility of each college or university.

“The goal is to moderate the rate of growth in athletics, to bring the growth back in line with that of the rest of the university.”

But he also noted that higher education and athletics do not exist “in a vacuum,” and that commercialism is a reality in today’s university landscape.

“The use of private and corporate dollars in higher education has been a fact of life for many decades,” Brand said, noting that research work, medical facilities and other programs have benefited from corporate involvement. Just as those revenues benefit academic programs, athletics programs also must rely on outside income sources.

“College sports has and must continue to look for revenues in order to meet participation expectations and not burden the academic mission of the university….We should not so romanticize college sports that we deny it the revenues that are already helping the rest of the university reach its mission.”

Brand said that the next steps in reform must be accompished largely through efforts on the campus level. The goal, he said, is to bring the growth of athletics in line with that of the rest of the university.

>>Listen to Myles Brand's call for campus leadership in continued reform of intercollegiate athletics

During a news conference following his speech, Brand reiterated the idea that the 80 percent goal for graduation rates will give added strength to the NCAA’s academic reform platform. Brand said an increase of 4 points in the rate “may not sound like much, but it is a huge jump.”

Dan Anderson,
9/6/2006 6:44 PM