The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Wednesday identified 16 more high schools whose academic credits will not count toward determining whether incoming athletes are eligible to compete at NCAA colleges -- and it identified nearly two dozen other schools that it is continuing to review, including some institutions known nationally for helping struggling athletes become academically eligible for college.
The announcement is part of a larger crackdown by the NCAA on high schools of questionable academic rigor that seem to help athletes who’ve struggled academically for years almost magically get their acts in gear and earn NCAA eligibility, late in their high school careers or even after they've finished at their original schools.
In April, the NCAA established a new process by which it would review schools based on apparent irregularities in the transcripts of athletes, and last month, it released an initial group of schools that it had ordered removed from the list of institutions it uses to determine the initial eligiblity of prospective athletes.
Wednesday, it added 16 schools to the list, bringing the total number of barred institutions Some of the schools were added to the list because the information they provided to the NCAA "verified that they did not meet NCAA standards for initial eligibility," association officials said in a news release, while others "did not adequately respond to requests for information."
"The vast majority of high schools in the country, public and private, do a fine job of educating their students,” said Kevin Lennon, the association's vice president for membership services. “But we will continue to be vigilant to ferret out those schools that are providing miraculous academic recoveries for students in a short amount of time and with little-to-no instruction. Hardly anyone would claim that legitimate education takes place under those kinds of conditions."
Besides the list of institutions whose credits it has already blocked from consideration in the eligibility process, the association also released a list of schools that it has cleared for use by athletes entering NCAA colleges this fall, but that the association is continuing to review for future years because it "still has questions" about them.
That list contains several schools very well-known in college sports circles, including Bridgton Academy, in Maine; Fork Union Military Academy, in Virginia; Laurinburg Institute, in North Carolina; and Oak Hill Academy, in Virginia. Fork Union's alumni include football Heisman Trophy winners like Vinnie Testaverde and Eddie George, while Oak Hill's basketball alums include such NBA luminaries as Carmelo Anthony.