The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors approved a proposal Thursday to give “low-resource institutions” more time to comply with tougher academic requirements — a move that may wiped the slate clean for Southern, allowing its men’s basketball and football teams to avoid another postseason ban.
According to the new measure, low-resource institutions — many of them historically black colleges, including Southern — won’t have to hit the new four-year benchmark score of 930 on the Academic Progress Rate until 2016-17, one year later than all other schools.
And though the two-year averages will be waived for the low-resource schools, all institutions must maintain a four-year average of 900 to be eligible for championship events each of the next two seasons.
Athletic Director William Broussard said that although Southern had not received notification from the NCAA on Thursday, he believes the SU men’s basketball team — which served a postseason ban this year because of its substandard APR score — would essentially be clear from facing similar penalties next year.
“That’s my understanding of it,” Broussard said. “We’ve not received any direct contact from the NCAA to verify that. The initial memo that received from them (before Thursday’s vote) indicated that the situation was as such — that essentially, the slate would be wiped clean.”
Broussard said he isn’t sure if the SU football team has a chance at a clean slate.
The football team had a multiyear score of 899 last season — one point shy of the NCAA’s original benchmark for avoiding severe penalties.
“It’s a possibility. … As I said, we haven’t received any official notification,” Broussard said. “But we’re hopeful that it would apply to both (teams).”
The SU men’s basketball team had a multiyear score of 852 last season, leading to the postseason ban — as well as a reduction in practice time and the subtraction of two scholarships.
The team had a perfect 1,000 score during the fall semester under first-year coach Roman Banks, and expects to have another high score at the end of the spring semester.
Attempts to reach NCAA spokespersons were unsuccessful Thursday.
In a statement issued Thursday, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the governing body had an “obligation” to help low-resource schools make a successful transition toward meeting the tougher APR requirements.
Now, low-resource schools must maintain a four-year mark of 900 each of the next two seasons.
The cutline increases to 910 in 2014-15, 920 in 2015-16 and 930 in 2016-17. Two-year averages would not matter. They also will be required to submit a “meaningful APR improvement plan.”
Low-resource schools are defined by the NCAA as those ranked in the bottom 15 percentile, based on the combined average of institutional spending per student, athletic expenses per student-athlete and the average Pell Grant per student. Schools from the Football Bowl Subdivision cannot make the list.
The APR is calculated by adding the number of points accrued each semester by scholarship athletes on each team. The athlete receives one point per semester for staying in school and another point each semester for remaining eligible.
“It’s important to look at a variety of options and be as deliberative as we can to ensure our actions facilitate success, not limit it,” Emmert said in the statement.