Kansas Regents may require schools to get permission to switch athletic conferences

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Also: KU seeks to add alternative admission option to standardized tests

The Kansas Board of Regents, the governing body of the state’s seven public universities, will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.

Here are a few highlights from the agenda relevant to the University of Kansas:

Permission to change athletic conferences?

The board’s Governance Committee is recommending the adoption of a new policy to require the KBOR CEO and chairman to give their approval before a Regents university can start negotiations to join a different athletic conference.

Since the Big 12 conference realigned a decade ago — losing Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M, and adding Texas Christian University and West Virginia — KU fans have sat on metaphorical pins and needles wondering where Kansas’ flagship university could land if another round of conference realignment took place.

That hasn’t happened on a major scale, but KBOR does have a recent example: Wichita State University, which departed the Missouri Valley Conference in 2017 to join the American Athletic Conference.

“With the most recent conference shift by Wichita State University, the Board has learned more about the ramifications of such changes, and how they may affect students, alumni and other university stakeholders, academics and university finances in significant ways,” the agenda background reads.

A college admission free of standardized tests?

An initiative that’s taken off across the country in light of ACT and SAT cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, KU this week may get final approval on a policy that would the university to admit students regardless of whether they have a standardized test score on file.

According to the KBOR agenda, KU would actually be the last Regents institution to adopt such a policy, which the board opened as a possibility to its qualified admissions criteria in September 2019. At the time, KU didn’t change its policies, but doing so later became necessary when the pandemic took hold.

“Since many applicants were not able to take either entrance exam, and therefore weren’t able to meet the guaranteed admission requirements, KU exercised their option to refer those applications to a review committee for consideration,” the agenda background says. “The review committee admitted students with a minimum 3.4 cumulative high school GPA.”

KU is proposing two different guaranteed options, which the agenda says was proposed in 2019 but “inadvertently” left off of the KBOR approval schedule:

  • A 21+ ACT score and a minimum 2.0 high school GPA or
  • A minimum 3.25 high school GPA, regardless of whether or not the applicant has a test score recorded

If approved, the proposed changes would be effective beginning with applicants for the spring of 2022. A KBOR committee has already recommended the changes be approved by the full board.

A KU spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to the Times’ request for comment on either item Tuesday.

The full Board of Regents agenda can be viewed here, and the meetings Wednesday and Thursday can be livestreamed here.

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