At Savannah State University, a historically black college in Georgia, the school's Division 1 football team has no chance of making it to the playoffs next year. It's not because of the team record. Rather, it's among 36 teams nationwide barred from playoffs because of National Collegiate Athletic Association academic ratings.
Like most of the teams on the list, Savannah State is among the Division 1 schools with fewer resources.
Even so, Savannah State is spending all it can on tutoring, study time, and other resources to improve its athletes' performance and graduation rates. Steward expects the school to be free of restrictions within two years.
Critics of the NCAA are quick to point out, though, that none of the teams penalized this year are top tier schools with big budgets.
"You don't want the richer schools to suffer penalties, because they're the ones generating the money for you," says David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.