Friday, September 16, 2011

If you can't get academically eligible, its your own fault

On Thursday, JaKarr Sampson, Norvel Pelle and Amir Garrett were all ruled ineligible to play basketball for, at the very least, the first semester of the 2011-2012 school year.

Just like Kevin Ware was ruled ineligible at Louisville. Or Michael Chandler at Central Florida. Bill Self's three incoming freshmen (Braeden Anderson, Ben McLemore, and Jamari Taylor), Jahii Carson at Arizona State, Ohio State's LaQuinton Ross and DePaul's Macari Brooks are all still awaiting official word from the NCAA.

Am I the only one that feels no pity for kids that cannot make it through the NCAA's eligibility clearinghouse?

High school is not that difficult. The requirements the NCAA has for being cleared are not overwhelming by any stretch of the imagination. To be eligible to pay Division I sports, 16 core courses are required -- four years of english, three years of math (Algebra I or higher), two years of natural or physical science (including a lab year, if the school offers it), two years of social science, and five years of additional courses, one of which must be either english, math, or science. In other words, a normal high school curriculum.

You don't even have to be that good of a student in those classes either. You can get away with having a 2.0 GPA in those 16 core classes if you can get a 1010 on your SATs (math and verbal only) or an 86 on the ACTs. If you bump that GPA up to a 2.5, the required SAT score drops to 820 while the ACT score falls to 68.

All of that information can be found here. I found that page by googling "what are the requirements for division 1 basketball eligibility". The second result on google was to the "NCAA Student-Athlete Eligibility and Recruiting" page at The second bullet-point on that page was a link that simply said "eligibility". The first link on the eligibility page says "Information for college bound athletes and parents", which leads you to a reference sheet for eligibility standards.

That literally took me all of about 90 seconds to figure out.

So as far as I'm concerned, there is no excuse for these athletes -- or their handlers, parents, teachers, coaches, etc. -- not knowing the requirements to get eligible to play in college. None whatsoever.

I understand the problems involved here. Many of these students don't enter high school prepared to take an Algebra I level math class or a high school level science class, an indictment on the level of education they are getting -- and the effort the are putting in -- in elementary and middle school. Some of these don't decide that they want to try and play college basketball until after their sophomore seasons, when they are so far behind academically that it is going to take them two summer school sessions and a year in prep school just to complete those 16 core classes. Others simply don't care about the fact that they need to be academicly eligible to play in college. In some cases, these kids just get the wrong advice -- or no advice at all -- from people that don't understand what it takes to get through the NCAA's Clearinghouse. In other cases, a kid that makes up four years of high school in a two-and-a-half year period of time will draw a red flag. And for the kids whose transcript reads like War and Peace because they attended five high schools in four years, well, you brought that on yourself.

But just because I understand the issues involved with getting eligible doesn't mean that I accept them as a valid excuse. If playing basketball in college is that important to these kids, take some initiative. Go to class. Pick up a book. Do your homework. Find out for yourself what is required of you to become a scholarship athlete. If you're old enough to drive a car, you're old enough to be held accountable for being unable to reach the NCAA's established eligibility guidelines.

A high school education is a four-year process, not something that can be processed and packaged into a year and a half of tutoring sessions where the work is done for you.

My father is a longtime high school science teacher. He's taught advanced classes, remedial classes, and all the levels in between. As he puts it, you have to try to get below a C in high school.

I don't feel sorry for the kids that can't try.


Anonymous said...

You need to consider the fact that some of these kids are not merely a "standard" high school kid. Some of them may have learning issues that have gone undiagnosed throughout their time in high school. It is not about a laziness in some cases, but rather an inability.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon:

Shut up.

Even the worst case of ADD won't result in a kid failing the clearing house.

Let's not defend kids who cant make the grade. Sure there are certain situations where transcripts don't match-up, but those are more rare than they seem. Most of these kids just don't try hard or just don't care.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some of the points you brought up, however let's not forget counselors play a part too. They assist in class selection and those that aren't aware of the requirements end up setting the student up to fall short.

Anonymous said...

So you are saying the student has no responsibility in making sure they are in NCAA approved courses? Again, blame is place elsewhere. Counselors often schedule 300+ students at a time. The student and parent need to show some sort of initiative in this process.