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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Clearing the House

Here's a first for the blog... a guest post. My wife Lindsay has been around the block a few times with the NCAA Clearinghouse, so I asked her to say a few words. With the off-season slowdown I'll probably have her write a few more of these. This first one is more informational... Lindsay's got no deficit of opinions, so I'll see what I can do to get her to come out of her shell in the future.

As an educator, I’m often asked what I believe about education. My usual response is that every child can learn and is intelligent, but not every child can learn at the same rate nor is every child intelligent in the same way. An unfortunate reality is that standardized testing evaluates students in a limited way. In 1985, Howard Gardner defined seven forms of intelligence: logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and bodily-kinesthetic. Standardized testing is usually limited to evaluating logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence; a majority of athletes demonstrate a strong emphasis on bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. In addition, school systems often emphasize logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence over the others… and so does the NCAA.

For nearly two years I have been serving as a consultant for student-athletes and the NCAA Clearinghouse. I’ve learned more than I ever intended to know about the entire process – forwards and backwards. Marc and I have had multiple conversations regarding the bureaucracy that is the NCAA and the NCAA Clearinghouse. I recently described the NCAA Clearinghouse experience in this way to someone:

Contacting the Clearinghouse is like climbing the mountain to see the guru. First, you have to climb the mountain. You then reach the top and you are allowed to ask one question of the guru. You ask your question and the response you receive goes something like this, “In order for you to learn my teaching, I must teach you to learn.” You then have to descend the mountain, contemplate the possible application that this “fortune cookie” answer has for you, and then come up with another defined and specific question to ask the guru AFTER you scale the mountain again.

Now I’m not trying to scare anyone out of entering the Clearinghouse process. Far from it! However, I know that the process can be frustrating and difficult for some students, especially those who have relied more upon their bodily-kinesthetic abilities over their more academic ones. Student-athletes have been told over the years that their athletic abilities will carry them into the lands of their dreams and earn them an elusive and coveted athletic scholarship.

However, the days of the “easy admission” are over – thanks in part to the new academic regulations instituted by the NCAA. Students must now complete a total of fourteen (14) core academic courses. Starting in 2008, student-athletes must complete a total of sixteen (16) core academic courses. Gone are the days of athletic practice counting toward academic credits. Instead, colleges and universities are placing a greater emphasis on the student in student-athlete. In fact, in order to be certified by the NCAA Clearinghouse, student-athletes who are now in the eighth grade will be expected to obtain a 2.0 or better in all of their academic coursework.

What are the requirements? Although they are listed on the Dallas Titans website, I’ll enumerate them here for classes entering college full-time through spring 2008:

4 years of English
2 years of mathematics (Algebra or higher)
2 years of natural or physical science (1 year of lab if school offers lab courses)
2 years of social sciences
3 years of additional coursework (any English, math, social science not previously counted or foreign language, non-doctrinal religion, or philosophy.)

Computer science, fine arts, industrial arts, physical education, health, home economics, or business courses do not count. You can check at for information about which courses at your high school are accepted toward the requirements.

Many of the athletes that I’ve advised in the last two years have heard the same words of advice: “Spend as much time on your academics as you do on your athletics. Give it the same concentration, the same effort, the same enthusiasm, and you’ll reap the benefits of your hard work with that D-1 opportunity.”

Does this mean that those student-athletes who are “at-risk” can’t pass through the Clearinghouse? No, it doesn’t. There is always hope for those who are willing to put forth that effort, but the options are not as wide open as those for student-athletes who have earned at least a 2.0 in every academic course. It’s harder to pass through the Clearinghouse, but it can be done. The reason that the NCAA instituted more and more stringent requirements is simple: students were arriving to college less able to complete the coursework, particularly athletes who were known for being socially promoted due to athletic ability. Rather than have these students who were bound for a more difficult academic experience, the NCAA instituted safe-guards to help athletes recognize that they must have academic success in order to succeed in college.

If you have specific NCAA Clearinghouse questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Simply click on the commentary button, ask your question, and Marc will forward the information to me. I’ll do my best to provide you with accurate and helpful information. (Remember to include a return email address or email Marc if you want a response.)

Comments on "Clearing the House"


Anonymous Pam Dahlberg said ... (9:55 PM, May 31, 2005) : 

Hi Lindsay,

Loved your comments on the sure to mention that if an athlete is provisional and gets his ACT or SAT scores up so that he is now eligible that the only way the Clearinghouse will show he is now eligible is if a school requests AN UPDATE...

Pam Dahlberg


Blogger Marc Foster said ... (9:11 AM, June 01, 2005) : 

Pam - Thanks for the comment... consider Lindsay's post Part 1 of an ongoing series. :)


Anonymous Masters Coursework Help said ... (9:52 AM, September 20, 2010) : 

it's good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource, thanx now i have the link which i was looking for my research.
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