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NCAA Proposition 16

The debate over the National Collegiate Athletics' Association's (NCAA) Proposition 16 raged largely between black coaches and civil-rights leaders versus college presidents and officials of the NCAA. These two groups had faced off before, over the similar Proposition 48, which preceded Proposition 16. Essentially, black leaders have argued that the Proposition's minimum standardized test score requirement unfairly impacts black student-athletes, while the NCAA and school administrators argued that the Proposition protects student-athletes from exploitation. This paper argues that both sides are right and concludes that the problem lies instead with the structure of and relationship between college- and professional-level athletics.

Since the 1960s, the NCAA has attempted to control academic standards for the awarding of athletically related financial aid (Covell and Bar 414). In 1965, the NCAA adopted the 1.6 rule, which required that student athletes who did not have a 1.6 GPA in their last three high school semesters could not receive athletically related financial aid (Covell and Bar 414). The 1.6 rule also used minimum scores on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT to determine college freshman eligibility for financial aid.

Sanctions for non-compliance with Rule 1.6 were weak enough that some schools could choose not to comply with the rule. But who opposed the rule and why illustrates the evolution of college athletic eligibility rules over the years. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, while the 1.6 rule was in effect, some college presidents chose not to comply because they argued that the rule gave too much power to athletic officials to determine who could be admitted to college programs. For example, then Princeton University president Robert Goheen charged that the rule gave too much power to people more knowledgeable about athletics over those who were more knowledgeable about education (Covell an...

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NCAA Proposition 16. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:21, December 06, 2021, from