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NCAA may pause academic penalties for D-I programs during pandemic

The NCAA is looking at pausing penalties associated with academic requirements for Division I programs because of turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its Division I Committee on Academics has recommended making such a change, which could have wide-reaching effects across college sports.

According to the NCAA press release:

The recommendation would impact the spring 2021 public release of the data collected this fall. Schools also would not be subject to a loss of postseason competition due to low Academic Progress Rates.

“The evolving conditions of the pandemic have created a great deal of uncertainty and change for higher education institutions, especially in how instruction is delivered to our students,” said committee chair John J. DeGioia, president at Georgetown. “By temporarily suspending the penalties and the loss of access to postseason competition, the board could help ensure the program better reflects the challenges the pandemic has created and provide relief to schools concerned about the impact of these challenges for our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics.”

The decision to pause academic requirements in this manner is based in part on finances in college athletics, which are taking a big hit this year because of cancelations and postponements of many sporting events and programs.

From the NCAA:

The pause also would allow Division I members to focus on other critical issues facing college sports, including financial sustainability in a year when the industry has been decimated by postponements and cancellations of sports seasons.

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The recommendation requires approval by the Division I Board of Directors.

If the recommendation is approved, the NCAA plans to use the pause to study the impact of the pandemic on teams, particularly at Historically Black Colleges and universities and what the NCAA called “limited-resource schools.”

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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