Samo athletes who plan to continue playing their sports through college, take note: the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently changed its policy with regard to the acceptance of online courses.
Effective Aug. 1, 2010, the NCAA will no longer accept online courses for any of the 16 “core subjects” required to graduate high school. College-bound athletes who take online classes after that date will then become ineligible to play sports in Division I or Division II schools.
“The NCAA is trying to fix problems it has had in the past, when it had college athletes that were only reading at a sixth grade level,” college counselor Frank Gatell said. “They want to know that you’re really getting a high school education and that you’re not just trying to get through the system.”
This new policy doesn’t affect athletes who wish to apply to Division III schools such as UC Santa Cruz or Mills College; however, students aiming for Division I or II schools such as Stanford, UCLA, USC or Cal States could find themselves unqualified after taking classes online.
The policy has already affected some students. Senior varsity soccer player Daniel Holbert is currently completing a Brigham Young University (BYU) online U.S. history course. Holburt signed up for the class in order to make room in his schedule for other classes, but at the time was unaware of this new policy.
“When you’re taking a sport at Samo, it takes up class space and then it’s almost impossible to get all the credits you need to graduate,” Holbert said, “[The policy] makes it hard for players like me to play Division I sports in college.”
Although the new policy may prove inconvenient for students, Athletics Director Daniel Escalera believes that online classes are not academically sound.
“Part of the problem our school has is the issue of standards,” Escalera said. “Online classes do not match the standards and rigor of a class that you would take on campus.”
Without fulfilling these required credits, students like Holburt will have to retake these classes in summer school.
“It will be harder to get Division I schools to recruit me because they’re very competitive and they can’t put you in [the games] right away,” Holburt said. “Right now all I can do is finish the course and try and take it over the summer. It’s difficult because they passed it with so little warning.”