Thursday, December 26, 2002

Williams praises admissions changes


The NCAA's emphasis on standardized test scores has long puzzled Kansas University basketball coach Roy Williams.

"I've always been against standardized testing as a measurement for someone's perceived success at the college level," Williams said of initial eligibility requirements based on minimum ACT and SAT scores the past 16 years.


"Even the testing service themselves will tell you it's not the purpose of the test. They've used it forever and it's something I've always been against. I've had kids before that didn't have great test scores, but would work very hard and do a good job in the classroom.

"I was the opposite. I could take tests and do very well and it didn't mean anything. A couple weeks later it was just the opposite. I'd forgotten half the stuff."

Williams is pleased the NCAA has enacted new standards to allow players who score below the former minimum or "cut" SAT score of 820 to gain admission.

New standards, which go in effect in August, raise the number of required core courses in high school from 13 to 14 and determine eligibility on a sliding scale that weighs SAT scores and grade-point averages. For example, a person who bottomed out with a score of 400 on the SAT could still land a scholarship with a GPA of 3.55 or higher.

"I'm really in favor of one of the new changes of adding one core course that a youngster has to have 14 core courses instead of 13," Williams said. "Anything that makes them do a better job in the classroom that makes them count what they actually do as opposed to what some test result is supposed to tell."

Kansas chancellor Robert Hemenway, chair of the NCAA Division I board of directors, said the new standard would fairly evaluate incoming students.

"The data consultants have developed indicate it's much more fair to have a sliding scale," Hemenway said. "The way it is now, if you get an 819, it's 'tough luck, guy or girl.'

"There is evidence standardized tests discriminate on the basis of race and economic background. Also, some people freeze up on tests. It's something consultants are taking a look at still."

Hemenway is also in favor of incoming changes to satisfactory-progress rules. The NCAA Board increased the annual percentage of degree requirements students must earn annually.

Currently, four-year students must complete 25 percent of their credits each year. The minimum now increases to 40 percent after one year, 60 percent the second and 80 percent the third.

"With the satisfactory-progress rules coming into effect, for the most part I'm in favor of those," Williams said.

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