- Associated Press - Thursday, May 15, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Texas Southern University President Dr. John Rudley says smaller schools “are severely handicapped” by limited resources and need help from the NCAA.

Six Southwestern Athletic Conference schools could face postseason bans from the latest Academic Progress Rates, released on Wednesday. That includes half of the league’s football programs and, pending a review, all of Southern’s teams because of questions about the school’s APR data.

Rudley, the chairman of the SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, said historically black colleges and universities have graduation rates of 36 percent for all students.

He said the bar of a 50 percent graduation rate for athletes “is set so high that most HBCU’s and other limited resource institutions cannot meet that standard.”

“The large, well-funded universities have hired large compliance staffs who literally escort athletes to class each day to meet the increased requirements,” Rudley said in a release from the league. “Our smaller institutions are severely handicapped without budgets to hire personnel for compliance and academic support. These increased regulations make it almost impossible for small schools with specialized missions to compete.”

Eight of the 17 football and men’s basketball teams banned from the 2014-15 postseason are from historically black schools. Alabama State and Florida A&M; made the list in both sports.

The NCAA has awarded approximately $4.3 million over the last three years to schools ranking in the bottom 15 percent in funding. The money is to be used for extra tutoring or other academic resources for student-athletes.

“We are proud of what our Historically Black Colleges and Universities have achieved over the years, before and after segregation, with respect to transforming the lives of people of color and providing access to a college degree for underserved students when others have not had such a mission,” Rudley said. “This is a case of one size cannot fit all, and the NCAA needs to continue to look for ways to ensure that the needs of all its member universities and our student athletes can be met.”

SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said the league can “applaud the improvements by our member institutions and the standards they have implemented to solve the academic concerns.”

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