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New NCAA academic eligibility standards set for 2016

The NCAA's increase in initial academic eligibility standards will take affect for the high school class that enters college in 2016.

An 18-member Division I Board of Directors, composed of university presidents, voted in an increase last October to start in 2015, but decided last week that by delaying the timeline by one year, it would allow for high schools and its students to become more familiar with the new initial eligibility standards.

"We want to give young people a fair chance to meet the new standards by taking core academic courses early in their high school education," Board Chair Judy Genshaft, president at South Florida, told NCAA.com. "The presidents have every confidence that future student-athletes will do the work necessary to be academically successful in college."

The current initial eligibility standards require entering freshmen to graduate high school with 16 core courses passed and have a minimum 2.0 GPA to be matched with an ACT or SAT score on a sliding scale.

In 2016, the NCAA will require the same 16 core courses, but stipulate that 10 of them be completed by the start of the student-athlete's senior year of high school and that all 16 are finished in four years. Also, the minimum GPA will be raised to 2.3.

A student-athlete who doesn't meet the new standard will spend his or her initial year of college as an academic redshirt, eligible to receive a scholarship and practice with the team but not participate in games. A student- athlete who then is eligible after the first year of college will be left with four years to play four seasons.

"When a young person is growing up, everybody knows exactly what they have to do to be prepared to play college ball," NCAA president Mark Emmert said. "People are constantly saying you have to work on this part of your game, you have to work on that part of your game.

"Academics are vitally important and demand just as much attention as athletics, especially in college."

The NCAA said its research indicated student-athletes in football and men's basketball will feel the most significant impact from the higher academic standards. The lowest Academic Progress Rates and Graduation Success Rates are prevalent in those sports.