SAT/ACT

With SIUE and many other colleges removing standardized test scores from admissions requirements, questions are being raised about how this will impact Athletics.

SIU System President Dan Mahony said if the NCAA reinstates the policy that requires athletes to take standardized tests, incoming athletes will be required to take these tests regardless of SIUE’s general admission policy not requiring test scores.

This could create a large discrepancy in many schools between athletes and non-athletes.

“I think the question in mind is, what happens after this year because SIUC and SIUE are not the only schools who have gone test-optional, and some schools are planning to go test-optional for the long-term, ” Mahony said. “So we’ll have these inconsistencies where the NCAA says for athletes, ‘you’ll have to take the test,’ but the schools aren’t going to require it for admissions.”

Sophomore softball outfielder Micah Arps said she believes these inconsistencies are understandable because it’s the NCAA’s decision what they require for athletes.

“If the NCAA wants that [requirement] for athletes, I guess that would be fair,” Arps said. “If SIUE doesn’t do that for other people, then athletes are just going to have to do it.”

Director of Athletics Tim Hall said the NCAA requirements might go away for good.

“So if institutions decide that they’re going to go optional, but then the NCAA reinstates it, then young [athletes] will have to take tests,” Hall said. “My gut tells me, I think over time ... we’ll see it go away.”

If the NCAA does waive the admissions for athletes, then SIUE will rely on other factors such as high school GPA and class rank, according to Mahony.

“Frankly, they tend to be much, much better predictors of success than the SAT or ACT has ever been,” Mahony said. “Just as an example, I did some analysis on our data, and when looking at predicting college success, so college GPA or retention and graduation, the high school GPA predicted about 25 percent of the variance. So, if I know your high school GPA, I could be 25 percent accurate. The SAT predicted 1 percent, so it was almost meaningless in predicting whether you were going to do well in college or not.”

The NCAA, according to its website, decided to waive the testing requirements this academic year to ensure all students could safely and fairly meet the NCAA eligibility requirements.

Arps said she thinks it’s a good idea to waive the standardized test for the time being for the sake of decreasing stress levels for incoming students.

“You have kids stressing over what’s going to happen with [COVID-19] and their scholarships and stuff like that,” Arps said. “So I think them not having to focus on getting a high score on the SAT/ACT would be a good thing.”

According to the NCAA, athletes enrolling in Division I will still have to meet the NCAA requirements of a 2.3 GPA in 16 NCAA-approved core courses, and athletes enrolling in Division II have to have a 2.2 GPA in 16 NCAA-approved core courses.

For more information, visit the NCAA website.

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