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This study examines the effect of an increase in minimum admissions standards on college enrollment and graduation rates of student-athletes. In 1996, the NCAA enacted Proposition 16, which increased the admission standards for freshmen student-athletes at Division I schools in an effort to improve graduation rates. Results indicate that Proposition 16 increased graduation rates significantly for black student-athletes, and had no significant impact on graduation rates for white student-athletes. Results also indicate that graduation rates declined for black student-athletes at Division II schools, which may be driven by students transferring to Division I. As a result of the higher admission standard Division I schools changed recruiting patterns and relied less on freshmen student-athletes, particularly black student-athletes, to fill scholarships. Even though fewer black freshmen student-athletes enrolled in Division I schools, the overall number of black student-athletes did not change, suggesting that greater proportion of transfer students into Division I schools were black.


Suggested Citation
Price, J. (2009). The effects of higher admission standards on NCAA student-athletes: An analysis of Proposition 16 [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations site:

Required Publisher Statement
Published by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Cornell University.