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SEC commissioner Mike Slive opposes making freshmen ineligible

SEC commissioner Mike Slive opposes the notion of making freshmen ineligible.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive opposes the notion of making freshmen ineligible, he said in a statement released Monday.

Last week, reports indicated the Big Ten was exploring "a year of readiness" that would prevent student-athletes from playing any varsity sport during their freshman year. The concept is widely viewed as an attempt at limiting the prevalence of players having "one-and-done" college careers in men's basketball.

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"A lot of thought and preparation went into the new initial eligibility rules that go into effect in 2016," Slive said in his statement. "It is more appropriate to implement these new regulations and understand their impact before applying additional eligibility restrictions that may be more cosmetic than effective.

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[ football]"Let's step back and consider our goal. If we are trying to impact graduation rates and grade point averages, we have to remember that each college student has his or her own academic challenges. To put a blanket over these student-athletes with a year on the bench doesn't address those individual needs to incentivize academic progress. Many students do come to college prepared both academically and athletically ready to compete in the classroom and in competition, and to penalize those students with a universal policy may create unintended consequences not beneficial to many student-athletes.

"If this proposal is about student-athletes turning professional, we need to be careful not to create rules for a few that penalize the many. The universe of student-athletes who leave early for professional sports is very small compared to the numbers that participate in football and men's basketball. And just because a student-athlete enters professional sports does not mean he or she has totally abandoned their academic pursuits."

Freshmen have been eligible to play immediately since 1982. Beginning in 2006, NBA draft eligibility was dependent on players being at least 19 years old and one year removed from high school.

Mike Fiammetta