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Patriot League: Changing the AI?

Today at Noon, the Patriot League office issued the following statement in regards to "revisions to academic policies":

Center Valley, Pa. - The Patriot League Council of Presidents endorsed a set of recommendations for revising the League's academic index with the objective of providing more consistency in the application of the index and internal equity between member institutions. The actions will also enhance admissions and athletic competitiveness of programs externally while maintaining the integrity of the League's founding principles.


The Presidents' actions were based on a series of recommendations with respect to the calculation and application of the academic index. Those principles will now be reviewed for fine-tuning and implementation by an advisory group made up of athletic directors, admissions representatives and the League's policy committee. The Presidents will review and finalize the comprehensive plan during their June meeting for admissions of student-athletes that will enter Patriot League institutions in the Fall of 2009.

Details at this point are sketchy. I plan to find out more information about this and post my findings in the College Sporting News. About the only thing that is clear at this point is that it will be in effect by the 2009 season, it will involve the academic index (or AI for short) calculation across all sports (not just football), and that this is a broad-based announcement: the final details haven't been hammered out yet, those will be when the League's advisory group meets to work on this. Also, whether it involves aid policies for football or anything else in regards to aid is not mentioned anywhere in the release.

Last year I wrote a piece for College Sporting News regarding the AI, which you can look at here. In that piece, I put the following suggestion:

Maybe putting some subjective criteria into the AI (like a portion of the AI score coming from admissions and athletics interviews, for example) might help identify other athletes who could thrive at Patriot League institutions. Some critics might call that dumbing down academic standards, but I think of it as reaching outside the strict lines of the AI to find more exceptional students that could be slipping through the cracks. Not everything can be boiled down to a test score – that’s why colleges have admissions offices. If a regular student can be helped in admissions with a good interview, why can’t an athlete’s AI?

It looks like the members of the advisory group have a real chance to be leaders instead of followers here when it comes to the calculations and what to consider. Here's hoping that they will take the big steps to get more of those students that are good enough to succeed at Patriot League schools but currently are priced out due to rigid AI calculations.

More, hopefully, to come later this week on this announcement.


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