National Association of Basketball Coaches wants SAT and ACT eliminated as an eligibility requirement for college players

July 16, 2020, 10:59 AM

Calling them "longstanding forces of institutional racism," the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Thursday proposed permanently eliminating SAT and ACT requirements as part of the NCAA's initial eligibility process.

The proposal originated from the NABC's Committee on Racial Reconciliation, according to a news release from the group. The committee, co-chaired by  Harvard's Tommy Amaker and South Carolina's Frank Martin, was formed last month to address racism and social justice issues.

"The NABC Committee on Racial Reconciliation believes that the SAT and ACT are longstanding forces of institutional racism and no longer have a place in intercollegiate athletics or higher education at large," Amaker and Martin said in a joint statement. "This is an important step towards combating educational inequality in our country."

In April, the NCAA Eligibility Center waived the standardized test score requirement for incoming freshman student-athletes in both Division I and Division II for the 2020-21 academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students who expect to graduate from high school in time to enroll in a Division I school this coming academic year will be academically eligible by earning a 2.3 grade-point average in the 10 NCAA-approved core courses, with a combined seven in English, math and science prior to the start of their senior year. There is a 2.2 GPA requirement in 10 NCAA-approved core courses for Division II schools.

Normally, the NCAA Eligibility Center uses a sliding scale for Division I to match SAT/ACT scores and core-course GPAs to determine eligibility. The sliding scale balances a student-athlete's test score with his/her GPA. A low standardized test score requires a higher GPA to be eligible, and a low GPA requires a higher test score to be eligible.

"I am proud of the continued efforts of the Committee on Racial Reconciliation, and look forward to engaging further with the NCAA on this crucial topic," said NABC executive director Craig Robinson, former head coach at Oregon State. "We feel it is prudent for college athletics to address a standardized test structure that has long had disproportionately-negative impacts on low-income and minority students."

The NABC said the pandemic has made it more difficult for students from low-income areas to qualify.

"COVID-19 has made finding a safe, accessible SAT or ACT testing location very difficult for most rising seniors," the proposal states. "Those with the most additional burdens and disadvantages of all kinds because of COVID-19, not just in finding a safe testing location, are low-income and underrepresented minority students."

Last month, the NABC also recommended that all high school and college students be required to complete a course on Black history.