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Big Ten discussing changes to freshman eligibility

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Big Ten Conference has something else for its fans to talk about — besides tournament season.

Leaders of the Big Ten are discussing whether to change the freshman eligibility rules — to make them ineligible to play in their first year.

The idea is, in their words, a way “of keeping education central to the mission of intercollegiate athletics.”

It’s not likely to influence the games for awhile, if at all. The conference said it, unanimously, decided to start a discussion about issues that affect academics on campus.

Delaying freshman eligibility by a year would give the young athletes “a year of readiness,” as they put it, for college sports and for school. It’s an “education first approach.”

In Bloomington, Tuesday night, fans told us they don’t like the idea.

“I think it’s unfair to the players — because that’s their passion,” IU Fan Diane Cline said.

Another fan chimed in.

“that would be a lot of talent wasted and I don’t see why those guys have to sit out, if they’re better than the starters, anyways.” Fellow sophomore Stephen Harayda said “I could see more players going to the D League or doing another option, if they couldn’t play as freshmen or go straight to the NBA. I just don’t see them coming to the schools that would make that,” Jonathan Jercha, an IU Sophomore, said.

The Big Ten is sensitive to that concern.

Its announcement about the discussion said the idea could never be “adopted unilaterally by a single conference” or school.

Click here for a link to the full announcement.