Could new graduate student-athlete rules be on the horizon?

Associated Press
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With student-athletes who have completed their undergraduate degree with eligibility remaining being allowed to transfer without having to sit out a season, graduate students have become popular transfer candidates in recent years. But with that rise in transfers has come some skepticism, with some coaches complaining of other programs reaching out to players before they’re officially able to transfer and others wondering just how much progress is being made towards a masters degree.

Friday the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Academics released its recommendations on how to address the issues surrounding graduate student-athletes, with an eye towards making sure that these athletes are making true progress towards a postgraduate degree.

Among the recommendations are requiring graduate student-athletes to declare a specific graduate degree program, and requiring that they complete at least six credit hours per semester. At present time grad student-athletes aren’t required to declare which degree they’re seeking or a major, and they only have to be enrolled in six credit hours as opposed to completing said hours.

According to the release only 35 percent of men’s basketball players making use of the program have completed their postgraduate degree, slightly lower than the 38 percent of football players who do so.

One suggestion made by some coaches in the past is that graduate students be made to sit out the year in residency required of undergraduate transfers, and that may very well occur in the future. But based upon the NCAA’s announcement the course of action at this point is to make sure those who do transfer as grad students are doing so without pushing the academic portion of the process to the back burner.

Will these recommendations, if approved, change anything? I’m not sure, but it may lead to more of those athletes simply deciding to move on with their bachelor’s degree in hand as opposed to sticking around.