Cyber-side Chat No. 36
May 13, 2004
TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of LSU Athletics
FROM: Skip Bertman, LSU Athletics Director
I enjoy the opportunity to bring you information about the LSU Athletics program by way of these Cyber-side Chats. I began using this forum one year ago this month and I hope that you have found these messages about Tiger Athletics informative and helpful.
We will continue to deliver messages about various aspects of our business. In the coming months we will update you on the progress of facility construction projects, plans for future improvements at baseball and softball facilities, information about television possibilities for football games in 2004, and other timely information.
Sometimes I will address topics that are important to all of college athletics and in turn affect LSU. This week I want to talk about a topic that you will likely see in the news in the coming months pertaining to the academic performance of NCAA student-athletes.
The NCAA is considering legislation which would require schools to place more emphasis on academic performance. This was a major topic of conversation at our recent SEC Athletics Director’s meeting in Orlando, Florida.
You are likely going to hear the terms “incentives” and “disincentives” a lot in the coming months regarding NCAA sports. In a nutshell, the NCAA is studying a system to reward schools that perform well in academics and punish schools that do not.
In the future, a school may be rewarded through an established recognition program, or even with additional revenue, from the NCAA if it rates high in academic performance. Likewise, a school could be punished if its student-athletes perform poorly in the classroom, to the extent that teams could be held out of NCAA post-season competition if its academic performance does not meet a certain criteria.
A lot has to be worked out in the coming months before this can go into effect, and there are still some approvals that have to be made among NCAA institutions for this to even happen. But it does signify that the schools that make up the NCAA are serious about improving the academic performance of their teams and student-athletes.
One of the penalties would prohibit a school from “re-awarding” a scholarship of a student-athlete who left the school and would not have been academically eligible had he or she returned. So if a student-athlete were to leave a team and could not have returned the following year because of poor grades, that team would simply lose one of its scholarships until the departed student-athlete would have completed his or her eligibility.
The most dramatic of penalties being discussed is a ban from post-season play if a team does not meet certain academic standards. There would be several measurements that a team would have to fail to meet before being banned from post-season play, but the possibility of teams not being able to compete for national championships because of failures in the classroom is a very real one.
The NCAA is developing a measure of academic performance for college athletics programs called the Academic Progress Rate, or APR. The APR will be based on a point system in which each student-athlete will receive one point for completing a term or semester in school, and one point for being eligible in the following semester. Ideally, a student-athlete would get two points for every semester of enrollment.
The APR will be calculated by adding all the points for all members of a team over the course of a year. The APR will likely be the primary measuring stick for determining which schools are rewarded and which are punished for the academic performance of their athletics teams.
I am confident that LSU is ready to take on these new challenges. As I wrote to you earlier this year, our student-athletes are producing wonderful results in the classroom, thanks to the combined commitment of the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes, the leadership of our coaches, the talent of our faculty and the dedication of LSU’s student-athletes themselves.
These measures could be approved by late summer, although full implementation may not be in effect until the 2007-08 athletic year. Watch your local media for progress on these actions by the NCAA as they could have a major impact on the future of college sports. Be assured that LSU stands ready to compete, on the fields and in the classrooms, in the changing world of collegiate athletics.
MARCH MADNESS IN MAY
There is still a lot of excitement on the LSU campus about the Final Four appearance of the LSU Lady Tiger basketball team. We’re hoping you’re as excited about next season as we are, because you can order season tickets to the 2004-05 Lady Tiger season now at LSUsports.net. If you’re an existing season ticket holder, you can renew your tickets, or if you are not currently a season ticket holder, you can become one now.
By ordering online now, whether existing season tickets or new season tickets, you become eligible to win valuable prizes. The Lady Tigers have already been ranked among the best teams in the nation for next year, so get your season tickets now for only $75 each at LSUsports.net.
We welcome your feedback, so write to us at LSUvision@etigers.net. I cannot promise a response to every letter we receive, but I promise that every one will be read. Your letters help us know how to make LSU Athletics better for you.