Academic Standards for Athletes at UCLA… second only to Stanford

Recently, I made a point of telling some folks that it’s well know that UCLA has the very highest academics standards when it comes to recruiting players for all sports, whether it’s football, basketball, or otherwise.  A USC fan naturally cringed when she heard this, (and anyone that knows USC recruiting knows why) and retorted back that "all schools" have academic challenges when it comes to recruiting athletes?

Oh yeah?  Tell that to Arizona State.  Cal.  Oregon State.  Washington State.  And especially USC – land of the "academic exception".

Truth be told, UCLA’s coaches have to recruit against the highest of academic standards:  If you don’t meet those standards – i.e. SAT scores and GPA – you don’t qualify and you more than likely don’t get in.  Only Stanford has more stringent academic standards in the Pac-10 than UCLA.

Unfortunately very little has been written about this difference between UCLA sports and the rest of the Pac-10… until now.  Brian Dohn wrote an article investigating this very topic:

Making the grade an obstacle at UCLA
By Brian Dohn, Staff Writer
http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_7595636

The comment often heard from cynics is, "Well, how big can this disparity be?  I mean seriously."  Well, in addition to this article, there is a very interesting Powerpoint online from Clemson university that goes over the topic of Academic Standards in collegiate athletics.

NCAA & Intercollegiate Athletics
http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~sauerr/classes/324/ncaa_files/frame.htm

In the Powerpoint they discuss Prop 16 of 1995, one of the biggest obstacles at UCLA.  Prop 48 requires that all student athletes obtain an SAT of 1010 and a GPA of 2.0 or above.  (Higher GPAs could offset lower SAT scores however and vice versa)

Surprise:  Not all schools abide by Prop 16.  Exceptions are made to a wide degree between schools and regulation of these exceptions appears to be very loose and broadly administered.  Basically, a school that has their priorities set differently that more academically minded administrations can pretty much establish exception-based admissions for anyone that comes along.

Not at Stanford or UCLA.  And with USC recruiting the cream of the crop from across the nation with it’s highly touted football team, this is one of the reasons so many prospects from Southern California, instead of going to UCLA, end up attending Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona State or Cal – schools with lesser academic standards for their athletes.

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