NCAA to review academic issues of men's basketball players

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA will examine issues facing men's
basketball players in an effort to improve their academic

NCAA officials announced Tuesday the formation of a group that
includes coaches, athletic directors, college presidents and others
to investigate issues that may be hindering academic achievement.

Dan Guerrero, UCLA's athletic director, will be chairman of the
group, which is expected to submit recommendations to the Division
I Board of Directors by the end of 2008.

"Nothing will be off the table," NCAA President Myles Brand

If not for an adjustment allowed for squad size, up to 45
percent of Division I men's basketball teams could face penalties
for poor academic performance, Brand said during a conference call
with other officials and reporters.

The panel will review several factors that affect basketball but
not necessarily other sports, including length of season, the
semester-straddling season, and time away from campus.

The group will look at "what would make sense in terms of
basketball" to help student-athletes improve their academic
performance, Guerrero said.

"Academic reform is here to stay and we need to work together
to aggressively develop and implement solutions that ensure
basketball student-athletes are as successful in the classroom as
they are on the court," Brand said.

The NCAA compiles an Academic Progress Report that measures
eligibility and retention of student athletes for every program at
every Division I school.

Teams scoring less than 925 -- the equivalent of a 60-percent
graduation rate under the NCAA's formula -- receive warning letters
and can face stiffer penalties over time, up to disqualification
from NCAA tournaments.