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Increased Standards for JuCo Transfers Will Have Limited Impact

Jon Solomon has an excellent breakdown of junior college recruiting in advance of Signing Day, including this bit from ESPN’s Tom Luginbill about the upcoming increased junior college standards:

“Junior college football is in big trouble if they move forward with this and coaches are livid over this,” ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said. “They’re asking these guys to make more progress than the normal admitted student. Schools are going to have to transition away from junior college, or be sure you’re pursuing players who you think are every bit the student as they are athlete.”

It is a little late to wonder if the NCAA will be “going forward” with the new standards, seeing as they were enacted in August 2011 and apply to recruits who started college in Fall 2012. Especially when making sure that players are “every bit the student as they are athlete” is exactly the NCAA’s point.

Requiring a 2.500 GPA, the centerpiece of the changes, will cause a few kids who might have been eligible to not be eligible. And yes, some of them will be out of options in Division I, since their judo eligibility (and thus their juco scholarships) may be up. But between athletes being able to hit higher bars if you set them and the “by any means necessary” tricks people are still worried about, the vast majority of athletes will reach the 2.500 benchmark.

The biggest impact of the increased GPA for transfers will actually be felt in conjunction with the new initial eligibility rules. One fear is that the NCAA’s academic redshirt concept will not be used, and the new higher standards will become de facto admissions standards. That means the higher standards would end up denying some athletes a chance to play in Division I and attend a Division I university, even though they are not designed to do that.

But with the higher requirements for junior college transfers, perhaps coaches will be more reluctant to send academic redshirts to a junior college rather than carry them on scholarship for a year. The thought may be that the risk is too great without the academic support that Division I athletes receive, not to mention that the athlete could be recruited away while at the junior college.

All of these rules fit together, at least in theory. With the higher initial eligibility standards, athletes should be better prepared for college. Those that were barely making it will need to spend a year focused on school rather than playing immediately. Those that do not will have more work to put in at the junior college level, just like their counterparts had more work to put in at the high school level.

The biggest problem is actually a rule that did not pass from a couple of years ago, that would have allowed for an extra year of remediation that does not affect an athlete’s eligibility. That “academic year of readiness” concept, along with the new rules, would give athletes a number of chances to demonstrate they are prepared for college.

Pac 12 Breakout player-Jacob Alsadek.

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