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NCAA Moves to Nix Test Score Requirements for Athletes

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Divisions I and II have taken another step toward removing standardized test scores from initial-eligibility requirements for future student-athletes.

Academic committees in both divisions have unanimously recommended removal of the test score from initial-eligibility requirements. The Division I Committee on Academics met virtually Feb. 10, while the Division II Academic Requirements Committee met virtually Feb. 9.

Committee members from both divisions recommended their councils introduce test score legislation into the 2022-23 legislative cycle, with an anticipated vote at the NCAA Convention in January 2023. The Division I Council and the Division II Presidents and Management Councils will consider the committee recommendations on removing the test score requirement during their spring meetings.

This recommendation stems from the NCAA Standardized Test Score Task Force — a specialized group charged with reviewing initial-eligibility requirements. After months of work, the group recommended that initial-eligibility standards for high school students preparing to play Division I or Division II sports no longer include a standardized test score requirement.

The task force, chaired by Morgan State President David Wilson, was formed as a result of the NCAA's eight-point plan to advance racial equity.

Throughout its work, the task force engaged several groups for feedback, including NCAA governance groups, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the testing agencies, specifically the College Board and ACT. The group also surveyed Division I and II members for additional input.

This input, as well as data presented by NCAA research staff and external bodies, helped inform the group's recommendation.

"We firmly believe in making values-based and data-driven decisions in the best interest of prospective and current student-athletes," said Committee on Academics chair Dianne Harrison, president emerita at California State University, Northridge. "Admissions requirements are evolving, and we must shift our athletics initial-eligibility standards accordingly."

The committee also discussed the path forward for eventual return to normal Academic Progress Rate operations. Portions of the APR program were paused for a two-year period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee will ask the NCAA Division I Board of Directors to extend the pause on using APR data for determining penalties and access to postseason competition, as well as the public release of data, the public recognition program and head coaches' APR for another year. The committee emphasized the importance of the program in terms of achieving program objectives of academic success and its commitment to ensuring the framework is structured to accomplish those goals in an effective and equitable way.

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