Even though NCAA waives ACT / SAT requirement for 2021 student-athletes: still a good idea to take it.

Last week the NCAA announced waivers requiring ACT or SAT test scores for athletic eligibility. While many  student athletes celebrated a sigh of relief, despite the generous exception its time to start studying because it is still a good idea for student-athletes take the ACT or SAT. 

To quickly review the recently exemption, last week the NCAA decided Division I or II athletes will not be required to take a standardized test to meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements. This decision said is to “help ensure students have a fair opportunity to meet the initial-eligibility standard.”   Why was this decision made?  

Student athletes, stay the course, continue moving forward with the plan to take the ACT or SAT college entry exam.  Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

Again, the NCAA is concerned about “the continued disruption in secondary education due to the pandemic”. So, to meet eligibly requirements for athletic participation as well as to meet the criteria for academically eligibility for receive athletics scholarship, practice and completion in their first year the NCAA has made some concessions. Admission requirements are pretty low, 2.3 grade point average for Division 1 and 2.2 grade point average for Division II provided the NCAA approved 16 core courses are completed. But, lowering the standard and exempting student athletes from the standardized tests requirement leaves a few questions unanswered. 

In total, omitting the ACT or SAT requirement does not specifically address university admissions requirements.  Nor, does the exemption address how financial awards will be provided that usually are distributed as a result of high ACT or SAT scores? 

So, put down the party hat and grab a chair. Its time to start studying because what isn’t addressed by the exemption is exactly why student-athletes should move forward with the plan to take the ACT or SAT. 

First, to get into a college the university admission requirements must be met to get into that college. Undoubtably, student-athletes with a qualifiable ACT or SAT score are sure to have better opportunities for entry. Conversely, student athletes without standardized test scores are more likely not to  meet the requirements for colleges known for higher academic standards  Lets be realistic, schools know for selecting students with higher academics standards will continue to maintain this standards. Furthermore, student-athletes may be put at a disadvantage to gain entry into colleges known for higher academic standards. Consequently, student athletes aspiring to attend such schools will be expected to meet admission requirements or look elsewhere.  

Next, it is no secret that a college education is expensive. So, even without ACT or SAT scores, college tuition will still need to be paid.  What the NCAA generous waiver does not explain how to fill the financial void that is usually filled by financial awards provided by high standardized test scores?  Keep in mind, outside of D1 football, which is a full athletic and academic scholarship sport, schools in DIAA, DII, NAIA and DIII typically stack athletic scholarship with academic awards towards the cost of tuition. Somebody will have to pay and I don’t see colleges reducing the price of admission any time soon. 

The question remains, in the coming months, will athletes be presented other opportunities be made available to fill this void and to gain financial awards? Or will the burden be placed on solely on the athlete and their family? Without the funding provided by the SAT or ACT score how can student-athletes earn the extra financial awards that decrease tuition costs?

Bottom line for student athletes, stay the course, continue moving forward with the plan to take the ACT or SAT college entry exam.  

Source: NCAA Eligibility Center announces flexibility in initial eligibility for 2021-22 Changes address uncertainty caused by COVID-19 August 17, 2020 11:00amMichelle Brutlag Hosick

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