A Memo to the President of the Big Private University
Madam, the recent events that have brought our university within the media’s limelight may possibly give problems to the University, if no immediate action is taken. Allow me to outline the events and the possible NCAA infractions that our university may incur.
The University is in the middle of an NCAA-imposed probation. As such, any additional infraction may seriously compromise the university’s status in the NCAA. The following incidents involving our male football team may lead to unwanted additional infractions: a total of 12 student-athletes had grade point averages ranging from 1.60 to 1.75; and Billy Joel, the team’s current quarterback, made an oral agreement on future possible plans with Whitney Houston, a sports agent. Allow me to expound on my point.
The fact that five juniors, two sophomores, and five starters on defense have averages from 1.60 to 1.75 goes against the academic standards set my NCAA. The five starters, all of whom were freshmen last year, had averages lower than the NCAA set average of 1.8. The NCAA Backgrounder on Academic Reform clearly states the following: “Freshmen in college are required to complete 24 hours of course work and have at least a 1.8 grade-point average.” The low GPAs of the other student-athletes may also compromise another rule of the NCAA. The fact that these students have averages ranging from 1.60 to 1.75 may mean that they have failing marks which may greatly affect the completion of their degree requirements.
Again, the said backgrounder is univocal: “Student-athletes entering college are required to complete 40 percent of their degree requirements by the end of their second year, 60 percent by the end of year three, and 80 percent by the end of year four.” I will personally look into this matter and investigate on the completion rates of the degree requirements of these concerned students.
Nevertheless I think it is important for your good office to be aware of this potential problem. All in all, this lower than required grade point average of some of our student athletes undermines the NCAA’s set Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 925. Not complying with the APR will mean a contemporaneous penalty for the football team which, in plain language, refers to cuts in financial aids and scholarships granted to individuals in the team.
Madam, it is also bothersome that the coaching staff hid these from the school administration. I cannot pinpoint who exactly in the coaching staff is culpable, but once NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions holds its own investigation, the university as an entity might not the only one to be given a sanction; individuals from the coaching staff (and other individuals from related departments) may also be held individually liable and as such, individual sanctions may be imposed against them.
The last concern that I think should be brought up to your office is the fact that Billy Joel made an oral agreement with Whitney Houston, a sports agent, as he was threatened by the possibility that Marshall Mathers might take his place as quarterback. Again, NCAA is clear in its memo to directors of athletics dated October 6, 2006, that student athletes are not allowed to have a written or oral agreement with an agent who represents a sports agency.
We must bear in mind that even if Joel’s agreement rests on the future possibility of Mathers replacing him, such an oral agreement on future plans is also not allowed: student athletes may not “agree to be represented by an agent in the future” (NCAA, “A Career in Professional Athletics: A Guide for Making the Transition,” 2004, p. 26). This also highlights the fact that Mr. Joel did not inform either his coach or his compliance coordinator regarding these matters.
These are the NCAA-related concerns that I thought would be best to be brought up to your office.
(2006-07). NCAA waiver of initial academic eligibility requirements pursuant to NCAA bylaw 14.3, application instructions.
(2006-07). NCAA waiver of initial academic eligibility requirements pursuant to NCAA bylaw 14.3, waiver application.
NCAA (2004). A Career in professional athletics: A guide for making the transition.
NCAA (2005). NCAA backgrounder on athletic reform. In The online resource for the national collegiate athletic association. Retrieved March 25, 2007, from http://www.ncaa.org/.
NCAA (2005).APR questions and answers. In The online resource for the national collegiate athletic association. Retrieved March 25, 2007, from http://www.ncaa.org/.
NCAA (2005).Infractions case: Lincoln University. In The online resource for the national collegiate athletic association. Retrieved March 25, 2007, from http://www.ncaa.org/.