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Basketball Jones

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posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 12:30 AM
After a scandal last year involving a "high school" in Florida for basketball players, "The New York Times" has done an investigation of "schools" that cater to jocks for the sole purpose of pumping up their grades to make them eligible for NCAA play. Traditionally, colleges have ignored such matters as accreditation of high schools, which has led to a proliferation of schools whose only students are basketball players and virtually every class they attend is in a virtual classroom, if that.

Schools Where the Only Real Test Is Basketball

The Times found several schools with curious student populations.

¶God's Academy in Irving, Tex.: A summer basketball coach started with three students in August. Now 40 students in Grades 6 to 12, all basketball players, meet with two full-time teachers four days a week at a recreation center. The curriculum is provided and graded by an education center 25 miles away. Its star player, Jeremy Mayfield, signed with Oklahoma.

¶Boys to Men Academy in Chicago: The student body consists of 16 basketball players, who can earn credit for the equivalent of eight high school core courses in a year by studying online through an accredited correspondence school.

¶Rise Academy in Philadelphia: Opened last fall, it outsources lessons to others, including Lutheran Christian and two online high schools.

At a time when an education is key to the survival of a national economy, it seems a crime that institutions such as this are allowed to exist, but the conspiracy goes much deeper than just giving a few jocks a free ride. College sports is all about money and colleges can easily offer "scholarships" to elongated illiterates when the basketball program "nets" a few million.

In the process of grooming children for collegiate, and eventually a shot at professional, sports, lives are squandered in a fashion only something like the mob could approach. In one case investigated by "The New York Times," the school added a 13th grade to help kids pad the GPA. In many more cases, in regular neighborhood schools, kids are held back in middle school, a practice that has been out of favor academically for several generations, just to let the kids gain strength and agility for high school sports.

As is noted in the article, these "academies" and "prep schools" hardly involve any academics at all and the end result is a lottery for disadvantaged kids who think they can make it big in the Bigs.

Who benefits from such a system? Is it the kids? Sure, if you're only talking about a single digit percentage who can make it to professional sports, but what about all the others who don't make it. What happens to them? Well, in short, they just get left out in the cold after someone has paid thousands in tuition to the administration of "Ersatz Prep."

Fortunately, things are changing. The media attention has forced the NCAA to set and enforce standards for admissions to athletic programs. As The Times puts it:

...[A]fter years of not policing secondary schools, the biggest challenge for the N.C.A.A. will be determining which of the nation's 5,000 private schools that do not fall under state regulation are exploiting the system.

Schools Where the Only Real Test Is Basketball

[edit on 2006/2/25 by GradyPhilpott] extra DIV


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