Grant Teaff turned in his summer assignment to Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. on June 21. It's a report that could have significant impact on Baylor and other national college student-athlete recruiting programs. Stating that they had developed guidelines to help Baylor coaches "increase their success rate in recruiting student-athletes of character and with the ability to achieve academic success," Teaff and his eight-member assessment task force submitted five recommendations:
- maintaining minimum test scores and a qualifying core GPA for admission,
- more stringent and timelier academic screening,
- an analysis of academic records of transfer and international students by an internal Academic Review Committee comprised of individuals employed outside the athletic department,
- beefed-up character reference evaluations, and
- requesting written permission of transfer students to complete criminal background checks and report past disciplinary actions in college.
"The recommendations are extremely positive, and from a national perspective, I believe some other institutions may look favorably upon similar recommendations for their own programs," said Teaff, who chaired the task force. Formation of the group was recommended by the University's Compliance Investigation Committee at the completion of its seven-month investigation into the Baylor men's basketball program. Teaff is executive director of the American Football Coaches Association in Waco and former Baylor head football coach.
Appointed March 4 by President Sloan, the task force met for approximately 44 hours over two months to address academics, character and official visits for prospective student-athletes. The group studied changes in NCAA legislation, interviewed Baylor coaches and student-athletes and reviewed student-athlete academic success rates at Baylor.
"The task force produced conclusions that indicate a wide range of participation and broad-based commitment, especially the use of the athletic department as a resource and the head coaches for all sports who were invited to participate in the formulation of the final recommendations," Sloan said. "I look forward to the implementation of their work."
A pilot study will be completed in 2004-05 on a subset of athletic programs at Baylor to determine the "best practice" before fully implementing the character-screening process to all athletic programs the following academic year. The task force also will submit a report on suggested rules and procedures relating to official visits following the publication of a final report by the NCAA Task Force, which was expected later this summer.
(To read the task force's full report, go to pr.baylor.edu