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Major changes approved

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA's Division I board of directors approved a package of sweeping reforms Thursday.

"It was one of the most aggressive and fullest agendas the board has ever faced," NCAA president Mark Emmert said. "I think they're taking positive steps for schools and student-athletes."

The measures:

• Conferences can vote to provide up to $2,000 in spending money to a student-athlete beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees. Emmert said it is not pay-for-play, but the reintroduction of a stipend that existed until 1972. He compared it to stipends given to students with nonathletic scholarships. The money, which must be given equally to men and women, will come from individual schools. BCS conferences are expected to approve the payments, but it might prove too costly for others.

• Schools can award scholarships on a multiyear basis. Currently, they are renewed annually and can be revoked for any reason. Multiyear scholarships could be pulled for poor grades, academic misconduct or other improper behavior but not solely on athletic performance.

• Tied academic performance to postseason play. Beginning in 2012-13, teams must average 900 on the Academic Progress Rate over the previous four years or 930 over the previous two to be eligible. In 2014-15, the averages rise to 930 and 940, respectively. In 2015-16, schools must score 930. The measure includes football bowl games. Schools falling short could lose scholarships, practice time or games. The changes mean defending men's basketball champion Connecticut could miss the spring 2013 tournament. It already has lost two scholarships because of low marks, and it's projected to have averages of 888.6 for four years and 900.5 for two. School president Susan Herbst said she was confident the rule would not be implemented until schools have a chance to show they've made improvements. But the NCAA said it plans to allow few waivers.

• Beginning in August, high school seniors need a 2.3 GPA in 16 core courses, up from 2.0.

• Instead of 20 evaluation days in July and none in April, basketball coaches get four in April and 12 in July. Also, they can make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages to recruits starting the June 15 after their sophomore years. The NCAA hopes this limits the influence of agents or unscrupulous coaches by eliminating all third parties.

• Endorsed a plan to edit the massive rule book and focus on broad integrity questions rather than rules such as the size of permissible envelopes to mail information to recruits. A formal proposal is expected in April.

Major changes approved 10/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 10:28pm]
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