A clause in a new proposal that would allow student-athletes to compete immediately after transferring to a new school is raising questions about racial inequality.
According to a report from CBS Sports, the new proposal would allow student-athletes with a 3.3 GPA or higher to compete immediately after transferring, waiving the year-in-residence transfer requirement currently in place.
The NCAA Transfer Working Group, which is tasked with rewriting the current transfer rules, says that just 6 percent of African-American men’s basketball and football players would meet the 3.3. GPA requirement.
Representatives from the Big 12 have objected to what they say is a racially disparate impact of academic benchmarks in a letter sent in mid-April to the working group. “The NCAA [would have] adopted a transfer rule that it knew to a certainty would favor white student-athletes,” the letter states.
Some say the new proposal is similar to Proposition 42, academic eligibility rules introduced in the 1980s that were considered so discriminatory that Georgetown basketball coach at the time John Thompson walked out of a game in protest.
"I hear it in the air. I hear it in conversations outside the meetings," said TCU faculty athletics representative Rhonda Hatcher, who also a member of the NCAA Committee on Academics that pushed the benchmark. "You want a relative high GPA because you don't want a lot of transfers in those sports [basketball and football]."
The committee is also considering a 3.0 GPA benchmark, which would allow 19 percent of African-American football and basketball players to compete immediately after transferring. Meanwhile, research shows that 70 percent of white athletes in the NCAA achieve a 3.0 GPA, allowing them to compete immediately after transferring.
"An academic benchmark would do much more to measure socio-economic background than it would academic effort or potential," the Big 12 faculty reps wrote in their letter, adding that it would "aggravate socio-economic differences rather than level the playing field."