Academic Reform

Academics First

One of Myles Brand’s greatest accomplishments as a leader was the implementation of his academic reform plan, which championed for “Academics First” in intercollegiate athletics.

Brand knew that student-athletes were all intelligent and capable students, but they were not always given the opportunity to prioritize their academics. He felt it was especially unfair that the government’s data metric didn’t account for graduation delays or transfers that would impact their graduation rates. So, Brand helped introduce two new data metrics that could accurately represent student-athletes’ graduation rates and be used to hold universities accountable for their academic progress.

The NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) was first introduced in 2003 to better account for student-athletes who transfer colleges. In his reform efforts, Brand heavily emphasized the importance of the GSR, which consistently resulted in higher graduation rates that more accurately represented reality.

Meanwhile, Brand introduced the new Academic Progress Rate (APR) to measure each team’s academic performance through the eligibility and retention of their student-athletes. This allowed the NCAA to actively monitor their progress each term and take action before those student-athletes failed to graduate. If a team was underperforming, then the NCAA would enact sanctions until they improved. Those sanctions banned teams from competitions and reduced the number of hours spent in athletic activities each week, so those students would be given more time to focus on their studies.

Brand also took measures to ensure prospective student-athletes were better prepared to pursue a college education. He increased initial eligibility standards, required more core high school courses, and placed less emphasis on test scores. These requirements were all designed to help improve student-athletes’ long-term quality of education and protect their progress towards graduation. 

By the end of his tenure, Brand was deeply proud of the success of his reform initiative, which resulted in steady improvement in both APR and GSR data.

Academic Reform

“Don’t Let Facts Get in the Way of a Good Myth,” Huffington Post

October 15, 2008

“The Challenges of Commercial Activity,” NCAA State of the Association delivered at 2009 NCAA Convention

January 15, 2009

WISH-TV Broadcast of Mondays with Myles – “Academic Reform”

February 2, 2009

“APR: Mission Accomplished,” Champion Magazine

July 1, 2009

NCAA Tribute at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN, hosted by Jim Nantz with soprano Sylvia McNair, poet Garrett Hongo, and Indiana rock legend John Mellencamp

October 28, 2009

Essays on “The Legacy of Myles Brand,” NCAA Tribute Book

October 28, 2009

“Myles Brand: In His Own Words,” NCAA Publication of Excerpts from His Speeches

October 28, 2009