One of the most predictable features of College Basketball are the annual NCAA Rules changes. Not only was this year no exception but you might just say this year was exceptional!

  • Division I institutions must achieve higher Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores in order to participate in NCAA championships.
  • Institutions now have the choice of providing an additional $2,000 in athletic scholarship money to cover miscellaneous costs of attendance. This increase is the first change to the scholarship value structure in a long time. Public Universities with enormous athletic budgets are sure to benefit most from this rules change.
  • Institutions also now have the ability to offer multi-year scholarships. Previously, all scholarships were granted on a one-year basis. Each summer, an institution chooses to renew a student-athlete’s scholarship, increase the amount, reduce the amount, or cancel it entirely.
  • We will see an increased emphasis on APR, as well as more serious penalties for inadequate APR scores. APR measures each school’s ability to retain student-athletes and keep them academically eligible. Each sport is measured separately, so that a team is only punished for inadequate scores from its own members. Every student-athlete is capable of earning four points per year – one for remaining enrolled at the same institution at the end of each semester and one for remaining academically eligible at the end of each semester. APR is calculated by dividing a team’s earned points by the total points possible and multiplying the result by 1000 – i.e. a team of 15 basketball players earns 50 out of 60 possible points (50/60 = .833 x 1000 = 833). A perfect score would be 1000. Through this year, the threshold to avoid potential penalties, such as a reduction of scholarships, is an average score of 925 over a four year period.
  • We will see more serious penalties for inadequate APR scores.
  • - 2011-2012 (current academic year) the old system is still in place – no postseason ban for inadequate APR scores, except three consecutive years with a four year average under 900

2012-2013 and 2013-2014

- a four year average above 900 is necessary for postseason eligibility;

- a two year average above 930 will suffice for postseason eligibility

Losing scholarships will certainly get the attention of administrators and boosters but probably won't significantly impact the won-lost column for most schools.

Ineligibility for league championship or NCAA Tournament play is a much bigger hammer. Apparently a team’s APR numbers are going to be easily accessed by the public. If a school is below 930 or hovering just above 930, it won't take much imagination to project how that is going to affect recruiting.

Perhaps most impacted by these changes are programs that 'traffic' in the "one-year-wonders". Apparently “one and done” players often stop going to class during the second semester of their college experience. If they don't go to class the team loses a potential academic eligibility point for APR. They may cost the team an additional eligibility point if they fail to withdraw from classes and take a failing grade. Generally speaking university-imposed dead lines for withdrawing from a class occur well before the NBA Draft declaration deadline. So, the "one-year-wonder" will soon become synonymous with "one-year-poison".

Don't expect these changes to affect coaches like Teflon John. He can continue to conduct business as usual until his present employer is hit by sanctions. Then he can accept another job at a different institution and run them into the ground over the next two to three years before he moves on again. You see, the consequences only impact the institutions and the players but NEVER impact the coaches directly.


  • June 15, 2012, -- apparently just for men's basketball -- unlimited phone calls, text messages, and private messages via social media sites will be allowed for any PSA who has completed his sophomore year in high school. Many coaches feel that PSAs don’t answer or return phone calls anymore; they only respond to text messages. Previous concerns about extra incurred costs for receiving text messages are generally gone too. Most phone plans now include unlimited text messaging. Soon, it is probable that all NCAA sports will adopt this deregulation of text messaging and transmission of private messages via social media sites. Let the circuses begin!!!!

Recent history has shown that certain coaches could recruit the best athletes, largely ignore academics and virtually run a minor league professional team. Well things will change for some programs and for some coaches, but for the truly unscrupulous there are still opportunities to ignore or flaunt the spirit of the rules.

Maybe this isn't all bad, after all, those one-year-wonders deserve a college experience too (even if it might be a very short college experience) don't they???


I can hardly wait to see how this all shakes out!

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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