Facebook Twitter



A single glance at the agenda for next January's NCAA convention convinced Prentice Gautt of one thing.

"In the next two or three years," said the associate commissioner of the Big Eight Conference, "we're going to see a lot of changes in intercollegiate athletics."Fewer games. Coaches getting punished for failing a test on recruiting rules. Fewer scholarships for athletes. Fewer scholarship athletes.

It's all part of a broad-based package of reform legislation that will be sponsored by various conferences and schools at the NCAA convention in January.

"We're talking significant changes," said Gautt, who helped prepare one of the more innovative proposals for schools to consider in January. Coaches who fail a test on recruiting rules would be barred from off-campus recruiting.

"It would probably be an open-book test," Gautt said. "A passing grade might be 90 percent. Details are still to be worked out."

In other items in what shapes up as one of the most significant conventions in years, a group of major conferences has submitted a wide-ranging agenda to cut scholarship limits and reduce time demands on student-athletes by about one-third.

The NCAA Presidents Commission said last week it would sponsor the general list of proposals by the conferences - including reducing football grant limits from 95 to 85 by 1994. In addition, the amalgamation of conferences will have proposals to tighten academic requirements and restrict off-campus recruiting.

The convention items generally break down into three broad areas - recruiting, scholarship reduction and cost containment, and reducing time demands on student-athletes.

As outlined last week by the Presidents Commission, athletes will be limited to 20 hours a week in their sports during the season and guaranteed at least one sport-free day. Athletes on average spend about 30 hours a week during their sport's season.

In addition, contests and dates of competition would be reduced in every sport but football, which remains the same, and basketball, which is expanded from 25 games each season to 27. Scholarships would be reduced in football from the present overall limit of 95 to 85 by 1994, and in basketball from 15 to 13 by 1993.

Scholarships in all other sports would be cut 10 percent.

In another cost-reduction measure, the conferences proposed phasing-out all athletic dorms and trimming training table meals to one per day. Those reductions would take place over a five-year period.

The conferences will also sponsor two significant academic measures. One would establish a grade-point requirement as part of the satisfactory progress rule. At the end of their first year of competition, athletes would need an overall grade point of 1.6 on a 4.00 scale to remain eligible. The scale would increase each year thereafter to 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9.

Another plan would require students to have 50 percent of their degree requirements satisfied at the beginning of their fourth academic year.

The reductions in games and dates of competition, which would take effect on Aug. 1, 1992, were divided into traditional and non-traditional seasons. A non-traditonal season is one that does not end with either a bowl game or an NCAA championship.