By:  Jim Hicks (Rcs Sports)
This article was posted in the VIP NEWS (May 13, 2015), but an abundance of popular demand has persuaded me to make it avaliable to everyone on the home page of  I hope you find it helpful and maybe this clip can spark a much needed conversation.  CLICK READ MORE TO VIEW THE ARTICLE!

Let's talk about academics and the newly implemented (NCAA Eligibility) rules which are about to go in effect in a couple weeks.  First of all take a good look at this "To Do List" (rt pic) and allow it to soak in for a minute. 

If you are Class of 2016  player and parent  -   follow every single step on this list starting today!  If you work days then have your son walk over to the counselor's office and get an official copy of his complete transcript.  If you have any recent interest from a college coach, this is where you can put their expertise to work.  Trust me, any college coach who really is interesting in you will not hesitate or procrastinate in having his compliance officer to evaluate your transcript thoroughly - in a timely manner.  But you have to get a copy or request for it to be released to the college coach.  Regardless of the case, you should still have a copy at home in case of emergency.   Truth be told, this is without question a state of emergency for many of you ranked players out there.  

If you have 10 core credits, then you must have someone calculate the core gpa of those credits.  If they average 2.3 or higher, then YOU ARE IN GOOD SHAPE!  If not, then your D1 eligibility status is now in jeopardy.  This is the point where if your talent has not attracted D1 interest, then not much of this stuff matters because you're likely JUCO bait.   

Meanwhile, if you have 10 core credits, you may replace any of those D's or C's BEFORE the first day of school starts (of your senior term). This marks the 7th semester of high school.  There are only a couple weeks remaining in most schools.  If you opt to replace and credits, then they must be done during summer or night school.  Now this is the part that many college coaches stress but are hesitant to speak publicly about the topic because it could possibly bite many of the hands which feed them.  I'm talking about the summer coaches.  Meaning, if a student athlete (especially the really good ones on the court) has potentially fallen prey to this new set of guidelines, and his only viable option is summer school, then believe it or not there could very well be some selfish grown ups who would choose against decreasing their odds of winning a basketball game versus increasing a young man's chances of obtaining his hoop dream.  You might want to read that last sentence again.  With that having been said, (surely not your summer coach) but if certain other summer coaches became aware that a particular college coach persuaded his star player to attend summer school, chances are probable that the summer coach may not be as favorable of that college coach in the future.  So that explains why many college coaches have to tip-toe around this yard with fear of stepping on your ant bed.  

On the flip-side, because I don't have a dog in the fight,  I can speak on it and not care either way regarding whose feelings which get pinched.  That is exactly what I am doing while there's still time.  If indeed a player must attend summer school, then so be it.  The first semester will be completed before the next live period (when D1 coaches are permitted to watch summer games).  As for those who may need both semesters of summer school, I just showed you where the water is - albeit I surely can't make you drink it.

... is pretty much a thing of the past (for any D1 qualifier).  Under these new guidelines, the NCAA will only count the first 8 semesters of high school.  In the past, players could reclassify and basically pause their clock while repeating a grade.  That's a nogo unless the parents decide to make such a move in middle school.  Let me stress this once more... only the first 8 semesters are being counted by the NCAA.  You can be hard headed if you want, but any 9th or 10th semester will not matter to the NCAA.  The main purpose a prep school may be able to serve is those student athletes who completed 4 years of high school with a 2.3 core, but had yet to attain the needed SAT / ACT test score (see sliding scale to the left). 

Since this rule has not run it's course, it is highly probable that many high school coaches don't see it coming at all.  That is not an excuse nor does it exclude you guys from future blame because the NCAA has sent materials to all high schools marketing this 2.3 campaign for over a year.  Meanwhile, parents and players need to be proactive on this thing and get on top of it ASAP.  Meanwhile, I strongly suggest high school coaches to learn as much as you can about these new guidelines before you arrive at school tomorrow only to learn your star player has transferred out.  Yes, that is indeed a possibility because for every rule the NCAA makes, there always appears to be a loop hole or way around it.  In this case, two recent highly ranked high school stars took total advantage of the rule by withdrawing from their high school before the end of their 11th grade (7th semester).  Both have been accepted in a HomeSchooled program which will enable them to replace as many cores as needed - BEFORE the first day of their 8th semester / 12th grade term.  This means both could replace all 10 cores from D's to B's if they wanted to work that hard on academics.   Surely I understand that some HomeSchooled administrators will think I'm portraying their programs as some type of haven for academic at-risk students who just happen to be exceptional basketball players.  That is totally not the case, but if you don't want to wear that jacket, then why stick your arms in it?  Texas has become one of the Homeschooled capital of the country.  Ten years ago most Homeschools would not accept rising seniors, and exceptional few who did, would reclassify or repeat the 11th grade. 

Staring in 2016, many college coaches project that Junior Colleges and NAIA schools will see a huge spike in the overall talent level.  This is a direct result of these new NCAA rules, which will effect colleges as well.  If there ever was a trap set for the academically challenged basketball player, then check this out...  In high school you will be required to have a 2.3 core gpa, and for those D1 hopefuls who miss the mark, they will likely head to JUCO where the core gpa requirement increases to 2.5.  Yes, you read that properly.  So, if a player struggles to maintain a 2.3 then what do you really expect to happen  when he has to keep a 2.5 and complete 40% of his degree plan within 2 years of junior college ?  That means many who are more than good enough to play big time D1 basketball won't qualify after two years of JUCO.  I can see every NAIA coach smiling ear to ear right now!