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NABC proposes that the NCAA scrap standardized testing for initial eligibility


Southern Indiana v Vanderbilt Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The NCAA’s initial eligibility requirements are already a pretty big joke to the writing staff at Anchor of Gold (spoiler: Forrest Gump was eligible to play college football), but today, the National Association of Basketball Coaches proposed that they should be even laxer than they already are:

Men’s and women’s college basketball coaches are proposing the NCAA eliminate standardized testing requirements from initial-eligibility standards, calling exams such as the SAT and ACT “longstanding forces of institutional racism.”

Cool, so we’re just going to base initial eligibility on whatever GPA the basketball factory prep schools that a scary number of these guys already attend deems suitable? That will go well.

This is best understood as a way to get rid of initial eligibility standards entirely. (No, I’m not going to touch the accusations of institutional racism, because that’s not why college basketball coaches want to get rid of standardized testing requirements, do they think we’re stupid?) That would bring us back to the bad old days before Proposition 48, which for the first time set real initial eligibility standards, and how did the bad old days before Proposition 48 look? Oh, that’s right:

The denial by Oklahoma State is greater. Manley and Friend quote Dale Roark, the academic adviser at OSU, saying: “We knew he couldn’t read a textbook. . . . I agree we exploited Dexter for four years, but he exploited us. Coaches further their careers with players like Dexter, and players in turn groom themselves for pro ball.”

That’s the story of Dexter Manley, the former NFL player who left Oklahoma State University reading at a second-grade level.

Now, it’s no longer socially acceptable to exploit athletes at the level of them spending four years at a university and coming out functionally illiterate, but let’s not mince words: I do not trust college coaches to go for anything more than the lowest-common denominator on this. This is not for the benefit of any student-athlete (and I use the term “student” loosely, if we’re talking about the ones who can’t meet the current eligibility requirements) and entirely for the benefit of coaches who don’t want to be bothered with eligibility issues.

(This should tie a nice bow on yesterday’s discussion of Vanderbilt athletes not getting priority registration while everybody else in the SEC does.)