I. a question whether the letters B.A. stand


Executive Summary

The following policy
brief examines the time constraints placed on student-athletes in higher
education. The dilemma between “student” and “athlete is most prevalent in
football and men’s basketball, the two revenue-generating sports, along with
women’s basketball, baseball and softball. The policy problem is
student-athletes have extreme time demands that hinder their holistic
development. Moreover, student-athletes are forced to make decisions they don’t
necessarily agree with. The policy recommendation would be a 1 summer session
dead period where no athletically countable activities could occur.


The purpose of athletics in college is to enrich the
learning experience of students. Around 1840, one of the first college athletic
events that took place was a highbrow regatta between and Harvard and Yale
Universities. From the very beginning the commercialization of college
athletics was seen as a major issue. By the end of the 19th century
President Eliot at Harvard and President walker of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology were already voicing their concerns about college athletics.

President Eliot stated that “lofty gate receipts from college athletics had
turned amateur contests into major commercial spectacles.” Moreover, President
Walker stated that “if the movement shall continue at the same rate, it will
soon be fairly a question whether the letters B.A. stand more for Bachelor of
Arts or Bachelor of Athletics.” During the late 19th century and
early 20th century there was a shift from student control to faculty
oversight and some conference regulation. However, college athletics remained
under-regulated. The year 1905 saw over eighteen deaths and one hundred major
injuries in college football. Henceforth, this caught the attention of
President Roosevelt and he called for reform. President Roosevelt invited
officials from the major football programs to participate. 6 Deaths and
injuries in football persisted, however, and Chancellor Henry MacCracken of New
York University called for a national meeting of representatives of the
nation’s major intercollegiate football programs to determine whether football
could be regulated or had to be abolished at the intercollegiate level. 7
Representatives of many major intercollegiate football programs accepted
Chancellor MacCracken’s invitation and ultimately formed a Rules Committee. President
Roosevelt then sought to have participants in the White House conference meet with
the new Rules Committee. This combined effort on the part of educators and the
White House eventually led to a concerted effort to reform intercollegiate
football rules, resulting in the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic
Association (hereinafter IAA), with sixty-two original members. In 1910, the
IAA was renamed the NCAA.21 Initially, the NCAA was formed to formulate rules
that could be applied to the various intercollegiate sports.

After World War II, there was a rapid rise in the number
of students attending institutions of higher education. This, along with
growing influence of television and radio, were major factors in the
commercialization of college athletics. Some of the first televised events in
the 1950s were college athletic competitions (Smith, 2000). Since 1991, the
NCAA implemented a 20-hour that limits the amount of athletic participation for
a student-athlete. The purpose of this rule was to restrict the amount of
athletic participation of a student athlete to ensure their amateur status and
to ensure that student-athletes receive a quality academic experience (Ayers,
Pazmino-Cevallos & Dobose, 2012). Now, the NCAA serves more than 480,000
student-athletes. Moreover, there are 130 institutions of higher education
compete in the top Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. However, to contrary
believe, only 24 out of these 130 institutions generated revenue in the 2015
fiscal year (Burnsed, 2015).

Identification of Policy

The issue is the unreasonable time constraints put on
student-athletes. The current policies in place enrich the college experience
of traditional students at the expense of student-athletes. These time
constraints impede the holistic development of student-athletes in various ways.

During school, many student-athletes are forced to pursue easier majors. This
is a factor that leads to the phenomenon of “Academic Clustering” (Schneider,
Ross, & Fisher, 2010). More importantly, these majors may not interest the
student-athletes, which causes apathy in their studies. Another consequence of
time constraints on student-athletes are the lack of internship and
study-abroad opportunities. For many student-athletes, college is the end of
their athletic pursuits (see Appendix A). Moreover, the previous statistics
don’t take into account the athletes whom earn a substantial living. Therefore,
ensuring these student athletes receive a quality education is of the utmost
importance. After school, former student-athletes have a harder time
transitioning compared to their peers. Especially, when they lack a strong
educational background and/or career/personal development (Park, Lavallee,
& Tod, 2012). Moreover, student-athletes typically don’t participate in
events such as study abroad and internships. Since 1991, the NCAA implemented a
20-hour that limits the amount of athletic participation for a student-athlete.

According to NCAA Bylaw’s and, “countable athletically
related activities may occur no more than 20 hours per week with a maximum of
four hours per day when a student-athlete’s sports is in-season. An exception
to the four-hour maximum exists for golf, but the 20-hour total remains.

Out-of-season total countable athletically-related activities may occur no more
than eight hours per week. No maximum athletically-related activities can occur
outside of an academic semester” (Ayers et al., 2017). Countable athletic hours
“include those at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more coaches. Some
examples of countable hours include: practices; games; required and/or
supervised training and conditioning for reasons other than safety;
coaches-initiated meetings; required camps or clinics; setting up offensive or
defensive assignments; and required film reviewing” (Ayers et al., 2017).

Examples of activities that don’t count towards the 20-hour rule include
compliance meetings; required study halls; traveling to and from competitions;
training room activities; drug educational meetings; and fundraising and
community service projects. Any voluntary athletic-related activity in which a
student-athlete participates and which is not required or supervised by coaches
or is not reported back to anyone on the coaching staff is also not counted
against totals. These omissions to the rule could include strength and conditioning
as well as athletic skill work. However, a study by Kevin Ayers, Monica
Pazmino-Cevallos and Cody Dobose concluded that student-athletes reported
on-average participating in 31.25 hours of in-season athletic activities and
9.87 hours of off-season athletic activities. Both numbers which are over the
NCAA 20-hour rule limit. On top of these athletic time constraints
student-athletes reported on-average 16.75 hours of academic activities
in-season and 14.25 athletic activities off-season (See Appendix B). According
to the NCAA “40 percent of required coursework for a degree must be complete by
the end of the second year, 60 percent by the end of the third year and 80
percent by the end of their fourth year. All Division I student-athletes must
earn at least six credit hours each term to be eligible for the following term
and must meet minimum grade-point average requirements related to the school’s
GPA standards for graduation.” (NCAA, n.d.) However, the following policy only benefits
men’s basketball one-and-done prospects. Therefore, the 6 credit hours policy
is only applicable to a miniscule number of student-athletes. Furthermore, the
NCAA requires that every academic year (fall and spring semesters only) a
student must pass 18 degree applicable hours (ASPSA, 2017) Most schools require
around 130 credit hours upon the certification of an undergraduate Bachelor’s
degree. This means that roughly 52 credit hours have to be completed within 4
semesters (not counting summer school). Furthermore, athletes would need to
take 13 credit hours each semester just to stay eligible for their 3rd
year of competition. Consequentially, many student-athletes have to take 12 to
15 credit hours in-season to stay on track to graduate in 4 years. Lastly, more
than eight out of 10 student-athletes will earn a bachelor’s degree, and more
than 35 percent will earn a postgraduate degree (NCAA, n.d.). Therefore, it
should be of the utmost importance for student-athletes to gain a quality

Discussion and Key
Policy Analysis

The first policy recommendation for this policy brief
is revisiting the 20-hour rule. The fact that student-athletes report spending
31.25 hours on athletic activities in-season is ludicrous. Especially, when
most of these student athletes are enrolled in 12-15 credit hours in-season (See
Appendix C). However, should the 20-hour rule be strictly enforced or be
expanded to encompass both athletic and non-athletic activities? If the 20-hour
rule is more strictly enforced, it will cause for more negative consequences
than positive ones. A stricter enforcement of the 20-hour rule would lead to
less athletic demands. Therefore, student-athletes would have more time to
focus on their grades and better retention rates (Scott, Paskus, Miranda, Petr,
& McArdle, 2008). However, this would lead to a worst quality of sport.

This would lead to the NCAA and member institutions losing money because of a
lack of public interest. Moreover, if the rules were more strictly enforced,
the NCAA would need to have more compliance officers. Then this brings up the
question of who pays these officers and how many officers does each school
have? If the NCAA pays for these officers then they end up losing money. If
member institutions pay for these officers then tuition prices for students
would increase. Also, is it 1 compliance officer per sport or 1 compliance
officer per X number of student-athletes? If the 20-hour rule was expanded to
account for both athletic and non-athletic activities then the rule wouldn’t
alleviate the time constraints placed on athletes. However, it would just
encompass the already pre-existing inequalities.

The next policy solution would allow for
student-athletes to course underload, take fewer than 12 credit hours, during
their competition phase. According to the journal article In-Season vs. Out-of-Season Academic Performance of College
Student-Athletes, there is a correlation between greater academic
performance of student-athletes during the off-season and a lower academic
performance in-season (See Appendix D). This will decrease the time constraints
of student-athletes during their most stressful time of year. Consequently,
this will lead to a higher retention rate among student-athletes. However, this
means that student-athletes would have to make up that time during summer
school sessions. Moreover, many student-athletes already take classes for at
least one semester of summer school. Having student-athletes course underload
during their competition phase would mean that most student-athletes would have
to attend both summer school sessions This means that student-athletes would
still not have access to summer internship opportunities and/or study abroad opportunities.

Even though this policy addresses the time constraints of student-athletes
during the academic year, it doesn’t aid in the holistic development of

The last policy option would be for a dead period for
1 summer school session. This dead period would entail no athletically-related
activities and would not require students to be on campus. The dead period for
every sport will be the 1st session of summer school. This policy
gives student-athletes the option to stay on-campus and take more classes, take
online courses from home, work a summer internship, and/or study abroad during
the dead period. Moreover, student will still be able to complete the academic
requirements of the NCAA. Student-athletes could course underload their
competition phase and make up those missed credit hours in their out-of-season
semester and during their 1 summer school session. Moreover, if they really
needed to the athletes could spend their dead period catching up on classes.

The only negative of this policy is it will take some practice times away from
teams. However, this comes at the expense of holistically developing the student-athlete.

Recommendations and

The best policy
recommendation would be the 1 summer semester dead period. This will be the
best policy option because it gives autonomy back to the student athletes. Moreover,
this policy option has more advantages than disadvantages. To a certain extent,
there’s only so much that can be done to eliminate the time demands of
student-athletes. However, the 1 summer session dead period allows students to
take courses (at school or online), study-abroad, have summer internships
and/or craft their game. Moreover, student-athletes will be able to course
underload while they’re in-season. Consequently, this will lead to higher
grades and better retention rates among student-athletes. If need be
student-athletes could take courses over the summer to make up for course under-loading.

This is true because the student-athletes would be required to attend at least
on session of summer school. College is a time for young adults to explore and
find what they are passionate about. The recommended policy option accomplishes
this goal by giving power back to the athletes.

Reference List

Ayers, K.,
Pazmino-Cevallos, M., & Dobose, C. (2012). The 20-hour rule:
Student-athletes time commitment to athletics and academics. VAHPERD
Journal, 33(1), 22-27.

Burnsed, B. (2015,
September 18). Athletics departments that make more than they spend still a
minority. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/athletics-departments-make-more-they-spend-still-minority

NCAA. (2017, March 10).

Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics. Retrieved
November 13, 2017, from http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-professional-athletics

NCAA. (n.d.). Football
Bowl Subdivision. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from http://web1.ncaa.org/onlineDir/exec2/sponsorship?sortOrder=0=1A=MFB

NCAA. (n.d.). Staying on
Track to Graduate. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

NCAA. (n.d.).

Student-Athletes. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

Schneider, R. G., Ross,
S. R., & Fisher, M. (2010). Academic clustering and major selection of
intercollegiate student-athletes. College Student Journal, 44(1),

Scott, B. M., Paskus, T.

S., Miranda, M., Petr, T. A., & McArdle, J. J. (2008). In-season vs.

out-of-season academic performance of college student-athletes. Journal of
Intercollegiate sport, 1(2), 202-226.

Smith, R. K. (2000). A
brief history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s role in
regulating intercollegiate athletics. Marq. Sports L. Rev., 11, 9.

Park, S., Lavallee, D.,
& Tod, D. (2013). Athletes’ career transition out of sport: A systematic
review. International review of sport and exercise psychology, 6(1),