Phi Beta Cons


The Chronicle today reports on NCAA efforts to improve college athletes’ academic standing. A policy adopted three years ago, it, as the Chronicle explains, is


known as the 40-60-80 rule, or the “progress toward degree” requirement — mandates that, to remain eligible to compete, athletes must complete 40 percent of their degree requirements by the end of their second year in college, and an additional 20 percent each year thereafter.


This seems a solid policy, although it seems to have produced some undue rigidity in major choices, as the piece profiles several academically sound candidates foiled in changes of majors. Some sort of tinkering seems warranted. The profiles of academically respectable athletes overshadow a telling point that appears midway in the article though, that “in addition, critics say, the rule discriminates against athletes who need remedial classes, which often do not count toward their majors.” Athletes advance towards a major in two years? Not while they’re still being taught to read.


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