The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's proposed alternative to the NCAA's Proposition 16 would benefit a wide range of student-athletes, but particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a federal agency.
The MEAC standards would rely less on standardized tests and more on high school achievement. Under the MEAC plan, student-athletes would be required to have a minimum high school grade-point average of 2.25 in 13 core academic courses, and the Scholastic Assessment Test and American College Test would be optional.
Proposition 16, in effect for freshmen next fall, raises the required number of core courses to 13 (from 11 under Proposition 48), and the minimum GPAs and test scores. For example, a 2.0 average will require the equivalent of a 900 score on the SAT.
(The test scores will be reconfigured, or "recentered", after April 1, changing a 900 SAT score to 1,010 and a 21 ACT to a composite of 86.)
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (Fairtest), citing the federal agency's statistics, has endorsed the MEAC's proposal, which will be presented in opposition to Proposition 16 at the NCAA convention in San Diego in January.
"The thinking is that 2.25 is an average that reflected a high-enough average that does not go too high as to exclude kids, but still would show the ability to achieve," said Charles Rooney, director of Fairtest's Campaign for Fair Play in Student-Athlete Admissions.
"The NCAA's own research shows quite clearly that their rules exclude large numbers of otherwise qualified student-athletes, especially minorities who would succeed in college if allowed to participate," Rooney said.
"In fact, the NCAA's own academic performance study specifically recommended against requiring grades and test scores simultaneously."