On January 13, 1986, NCAA schools vote to adopt Proposition 48, a controversial regulation that mandates minimum high school grades and scores on standardized college entrance exames for student-athletes to participate in sports as freshmen. The proposition, which passes by a large margin, has a disproportional impact on Black male athletes.
According to NCAA statistics, only 51 percent of Black male athletes would have qualified for the 1982 season had the bylaw already been in effect, the Hartford Courant reported. "There is no question that some of the most highly skilled athletes will not be competing as freshman," said Wilford Bailey, NCAA secretary-treasurer, of Proposition 48.
The historically Black schools, led by Grambling State president Joseph Johnson, adamantly objected to the bylaw. “This rule will deny Blacks equal protection and opportunity. Those who proposed it, knew it,” he said.
Proposition 48 required incoming freshmen to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average n the core curriculum of 11 courses in English, math and sciences as well as score 700 or more on the SAT or a 15 on the ACT. The SAT and ACT are standardized college entrance exams.
The day after Proposition 48 was passed, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson walked off the court in protest before a game against Boston College.
"I've done this because, out of frustration, you're limited in your options of what you can do in response to something I felt was very wrong," Thompson said.
The NCAA has adjusted the regulation over the years, but it has remained in effect since 1986.