The Big Ten Conference is considering the possibility of making freshmen athletes in football and men’s basketball ineligible and hopes to have a “national discussion” about the subject, according to the The Diamondback, the student newspaper at the University of Maryland.
True freshman first began to compete in all sports in 1972.
Maryland's athletic council met on Thursday to discuss a document that the conference is circulating called "A Year of Readiness.”
"If they do well because they spend more time, get more academic advising ... their freshman year, they're going to graduate," Maryland president Wallace Loh told the newspaper. "And I think it's worth spending an extra year of financial support to ensure that they graduate."
The document said that football and men’s basketball are the only sports with graduation rates less than 75 percent across the NCAA, prompting officials to discuss making athletes ineligible as a way to adjust to college life.
Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said he would be in favor the ineligibility rule.
“That would be one of the healthiest things we could do for college sports right now," Ferentz told ESPN.com “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."
According to the document, almost $95 million would be needed each year to account for an athlete being ineligible their first year and still having four years of eligibility left.
The Big Ten is the most valuable college conference last year, according to Forbes Magazine, taking home an estimated $318 million from the league’s bowl and NCAA tournament games and from its massive television deal.
- Scooby Axson