University of Iowa President Hunter Rawlings says he will bar freshmen from participating in sports if the NCAA does not take that action, it was reported Friday.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Rawlings said he will act unilaterally if the National Collegiate Athletic Association fails to make a change within three years.The University of Iowa was recently stung by damaging testimony at the nationally-publicized trial of sports agents Norby Walters and Lloyd Bloom. Former UI football star Ronnie Harmon testified he was allowed to take sluff courses in order to remain eligible for sports.

Rawlings said allowing freshmen to play sports is at the root of the academic problem because it sends the message that athletics is more important than education.