Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News has an excellent look at how junior college is replacing prep school as the destination of choice for New York City’s prospects who need extra academic work before heading to Division I:
“It’s becoming progressively tougher (to qualify for four-year schools), and because of that, the junior colleges are going to get back into the picture,” (talent evaluator Tom) Konchalski says. “They think JUCO is a four-letter word, which it is, but not in a derogatory sense. But junior colleges will flourish to the extent that they haven’t recently. They’ll be getting more good players.”
And in NYC this could apply to the vast majority of prospects. According to Abramson, New York’s public school league produced exactly one academically eligible Division I prospects last year. Rising standards will not do much to help that, but PSAL is beefing up their own academic eligibility rules. That should provide a greater incentive for prospects to keep up with Division I standards.
But at the same time, the NCAA increased junior college academic requirements as well. There is a catch though. When the new high school standards kick in August 2016, prospects who are academic redshirts (meaning the meet the current standards but not the new standards) will be treated like full qualifiers when it comes to junior college transfer rules. They will still need to earn a 2.500 GPA, and in basketball they cannot transfer midyear. But they will be able to transfer after one year, simply completing 24 transferrable credits.
By contrast, nonqualifiers (those that do meet even the current requirements) must spend three semesters (essentially two full years for basketball prospects) at the junior college, earn their associate’s degree, and have 48 transferrable credits which must include six credits of English, three credits of math, and three credits of science.
This reopens a type of prep school for prospects who only qualify as academic redshirts. Their five-year clocks will start, and they might use a season of eligibility. But they can arrive on campus with at least three seasons of competition, four years to use their eligibility, and/or having gotten another season to be recruited. Expect this to become a popular option, especially if basketball programs do not take many academic redshirts.