There is a plan in the beloved Big Ten Conference to create a “year of readiness” for freshmen athletes in Men’s College Basketball and College Football. The year would be used to push academic reinforcement and giving players time to adjust to “the college life”. This idea has been pushed around from school to school in the conference as a document titled “A Year of Readiness”.
As originally reported by University of Maryland newspaper The Diamondback, Maryland athletic councilmen/women discussed the document this past Thursday. University of Maryland president Wallace Loh told the newspaper “If they do well because they spend more time, get more academic advising … their freshman year, they’re going to graduate,” and “And I think it’s worth spending an extra year of financial support to ensure that they graduate.”.
Commissioners Larry Scott of the Pac-12 and Bob Bowlsby of the Big-12 also discussed their conferences considering freshmen ineligibility. Both commissioners expressed a great deal of intrigue into the subject and stated that many commissioners have growing interest in freshmen ineligibility as well. Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz even chimed in on the idea to ESPN.com saying ” ‘That would be one of the healthiest things we could do for college sports right now’. ‘Recruiting’s kind of a runaway train, and
what a lot of people don’t consider is there’s a lot of serious pressure that’s put on some players’ shoulders that I’m not sure is healthy for them big picture-wise. … It would allow the guy to transition a little bit with a lot less fanfare and get their feet on the ground and get a good foundation established.’ ”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith had a dissenting view on the idea of freshmen ineligibility in response to the One-and-Done dilemma hitting College Basketball. He was quoted by ESPN.com as saying ” ‘One-and-done is a small percentage — it’s not even 1 percent of our student-athletes when you take all the schools,’ Smith told ESPN.com. ‘That’s way off base to me. Do we have challenges with young people who aren’t really prepared the way they should be to attack college education? No doubt about it.’
‘I have not been a proponent of freshman ineligibility, but I keep my mind open that maybe it’s something we have to consider.’
Per the Big Ten, "no official proposal" on freshman ineligibility. It's gauging interest from members on "beginning a national discussion."
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 19, 2015
Big Ten readying proposal that would restrict freshmen from playing — for football and men’s basketball only, at this point.
— College Hockey News (@chnews) February 19, 2015
It should be noted however that the NCAA had previously held a rule that freshmen were ineligible for athletic participation until 1972. Things have clearly changed since the rule had been altered to include freshmen, but it is interesting to see the discussion being brought back into the fore-front of college athletics.