Tag: freshman ineligibility

Jim Delany

Report: Big Ten looking into idea of making freshmen ineligible for competition in football, men’s basketball


Less than a week after it was reported by Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com that some conference commissioners have been discussing the possibility of making freshmen ineligible for competition, another outlet has reported that the Big Ten is entertaining thoughts of following that path in football and men’s basketball.

According to The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s student newspaper, the Big Ten has broached the idea of a “mandatory redshirt” that would be geared towards ensuring that freshmen would use their first year of college to get acclimated academically. In the story, Maryland president Wallace D. Loh voiced his support for the idea.

According to the Big Ten, with football and men’s basketball being the lone sports to produce a graduation rate lower than 75 percent those sports would benefit from this move (if it were to occur).

Men’s basketball and football players lag behind other sports in terms of academics, according to data provided in the document. Among the 34 sports listed in the Graduation Success Rate data, football and men’s basketball ranked last in the 2004 to 2007 cohort, according to the document. Among the 38 sports listed in the Academic Progress Rate data from 2009 to 2013, those two sports also ranked last.

The proposal examines “the imbalance observed in those two sports” and cites that football and men’s basketball student-athletes account for less than 19 percent of Division I participants, yet they account for more than 80 percent of academic infraction cases.

There are some issues with this, most notably the idea that football and men’s basketball would be the lone sports subject to this measure. While those in support of freshman ineligibility would likely point to those academic numbers as the reason why, there would likely be a considerable amount of pushback from those who believe that if freshman were to be made ineligible that should be the case for all sports.

And here’s another question to ask: where was this concern for academics during the most recent round of conference realignment? Major conferences, for the most part, have become larger and span more ground than they did in the past. How does that, and the travel time that comes with it, help the “student-athletes” focus on being a student first?

It will be interesting to see where these conversations take college athletics, but making freshmen ineligible for competition may do more harm than good to the bottom line (money) that drove conference realignment.

Pac-12 presidents suggest considering freshman ineligibility if NBA doesn’t increase age limit


The rule that requires a basketball player to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from high school in order to be eligible for the NBA Draft is something that was put into effect by the NBA and its players association. And while new commissioner Adam Silver has stated on multiple occasions that one of this primary goals is to add another year to the rule, it will take the approval of the NBPA to get that done.

So where does college basketball sit in all of this? There really isn’t a whole lot the NCAA and its programs can do, outside of speaking with the decision makers who will decide the fate of said rule. However, in a letter sent to the members of the other four power conferences (football’s Power Five) the presidents of the Pac-12 have an idea of what to do should the NBA not raise its age limit.

That idea: bringing back the rule that made freshmen ineligible to play at the varsity level.

7. Address the “one and done” phenomenon in men’s basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men’s basketball.

It should be noted that this was just one of the changes suggested by the presidents with the goal being to restore “academic primacy to the mission of intercollegiate athletics.” Other ideas stated include making sure athletes receive proper medical care for injuries suffered in practices of games, and making sure athletes remain on scholarship until they complete their degree provided they’re in good academic standing.

So some of those initiatives are well-meaning. But to consider making freshmen ineligible to compete? Not so much, especially when considering the fact that this move was suggested in just one sport: men’s basketball.

The NBA/NBPA requiring athletes to be two years removed from high school may not have much of an effect on how many decide to take an alternate route (D-League, Europe, etc.) to the NBA as opposed to attending college, because under that rule the player would be able to play college basketball. And if collegiate athletics were to go along with the idea of making freshmen ineligible, how many elite players would hang around for two years if the NBA didn’t require them to?

Sure some will argue that such a measure would keep those who seemingly don’t want to be in college from using it as a pit stop, but would that really be the case? The return of freshman ineligibility would likely mean the loss of player who, despite spending just one year in school, take full advantage of their time on campus. And for all the love given to productive upperclassmen, those elite freshmen are also capable of sparking enthusiasm amongst sports fans (see: last November’s Champions Classic).

And if the road to academic “reform” includes making freshmen sit, will the powers that be do anything to limit the amount of time teams spend on the road (especially in March)? Going to guess that there won’t be any changes on that front any time soon.