Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

An Assessment of NCAA Division I Directors of Football Operations Perceptions of Changes in Recruiting and Retention Strategies Due to Apr Legislation

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

An Assessment of NCAA Division I Directors of Football Operations Perceptions of Changes in Recruiting and Retention Strategies Due to Apr Legislation

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since its inception in 1906, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has dealt with institutions using players that were not true students (Crowley, 2006). Now, the context has changed. In its inception, the NCAA attempted to eliminate the use of "tramp athletes" or athletes that would jump from school to school in order to play intercollegiate athletics (Crowley, 2006). Currently the NCAA governs the academic standards of prospective and current student athletes in an attempt to ensure that only academically qualified students compete in intercollegiate athletics (Barnes, 2004).

One of the attempts by the NCAA is called the Academic Progress Rating (APR) (Meyer, 2005). Similar to previous NCAA academic legislation, the validity and fairness of the APR has been surrounded by debate.

The NCAA implemented the APR in 2004 hoping the legislation would act as a more significant and precise way of measuring whether student athletes are making progress toward their degrees (Christy, Seifried, & Pastore, 2008). The APR was part of a new academic reform instituted by the NCAA referred to as the Academic Performance Program (APP). The APP includes disclosure requirements by NCAA member institutions for the APR, an Academic Performance Census (APC), and a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) (NCAA, 2009). The idea behind the APP legislation was to hold teams and institutions more accountable for the graduation of student athletes. The late NCAA President Myles Brand proclaimed this reform was "critically necessary" to make certain student athletes are academically successful (Blackman, 2008, p. 227). Oftentimes reform or change within a sports organization will elicit resistance to the adjustment (Slack & Parent, 2006). In the case of the APR, there was a difference in opinions over the believed outcomes the legislation would bring (Sperber, 2005)

Since its origin, average APR scores have increased (Hosick, 2008), but so has the amount of opposition to this legislation. The opposition is primarily due to increased penalties imposed by the NCAA for failing to reach the benchmarks established in the APR bylaws. Brand said the penalties were designed to change behavior and were not intended to be disciplinary (Hosick, 2008).

Two of the biggest opponents to the APR have been historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and schools that do not automatically qualify for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Conferences (Christy et ah, 2008). This includes programs that do not compete for bowls. NCAA Division I football is separated into two categories, Football Bowl Series (FBS) and the Football Championship Series (FCS). FCS programs compete in a playoff format and have more restrictions on the number of scholarships they can offer in football. The main reason for the opposition is these schools have been the most affected by the APR legislation primarily due to the lack of resources compared to schools with much larger athletic programs.

One main reason for the disparity between BCS schools and non-BCS schools has been available resources (Blackman, 2008). BCS conference schools generate the most money of the schools that compete in the NCAA. This allows BCS Conference schools to funnel revenue generated from athletics into their academic support units, which increases the probability their student athletes will be academically successful.

In addition to some coaches and athletic department administrators the APR has other detractors. Some higher education faculty and researchers have been opposed to APR legislation. Many of these individuals see the APR legislation as merely a knee-jerk reaction to the negative publicity the NCAA received from congressional hearings regarding academic integrity (Mangold, Bean & Adams. 2003). Many opponents believe the APR is not strict enough and does not measure true institutional academic stability (Sperber, 2005).

Cusack (2007) argued the APR holds institutions accountable for issues beyond their control. …

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