Failing on purpose

Top high school athletes are purposely failing to graduate so they can get around an NCAA rule that bars students with low grades and test scores from competing as freshmen.

One of the players who said he intentionally failed was Andre Jones of Forestville Military Academy, who had accepted a football scholarship to play at Boston College last summer and was on track to graduate. But poor grades as a freshman and a sophomore left Jones unlikely to meet the NCAA minimum standards for freshman eligibility and receive his scholarship.

Jones’s mother, Shannon, said she was advised by Boston College assistant coach Keith Willis and the coach at the Connecticut prep school at which Jones eventually would enroll that it would be in her son’s best interest not to graduate from high school. Andre Jones said he intentionally failed English during the second semester of his senior year to not meet graduation requirements.

By repeating 12th grade at a prep school, athletes have a chance to raise their grades so they’ll be eligible to play for four years in college.

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  1. I’m continually amazed at how hard some people are willing to work to avoid working hard.

  2. All professional sports need to have a developmental league as baseball has the minor leagues, so that athletes who want to pursue professional athletics but don’t want to pursue an academic degree have an option. College should not be the NFL or NBA’s farm system.

  3. I agree 100%, all this does is make the NCAA look more stupid than they already are (by allowing this stuff to happen), and as we all know, if there is a way to get around the system, students will do so.

  4. mike from oregon says:

    The American way – look at the rules and figure out how to get around it. It’s what’s made this country great (tongue only slightly in cheek).

  5. Andy Freeman says:

    It’s not cheating to play by the rules that are imposed on you.

  6. College coaches, nominally educators, should not be advising student/athletes to fail at being students? What kind of life message are they imparting? This is just so wrong. I think in part that it comes back to tv money for football. You never hear about recruiting abuses like this from colleges that don’t play on tv or receive big checks from the networks. Those schools, say, Williams, don’t bend these kinds of rules.

    I am appalled.

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    GW for President. Of course, ICS didn’t have a football team, so perhaps I am just jealous.

  8. So what’s wrong with repeating a grade until you’ve learned what you are supposed to learn?

    But I do wonder who’s paying for this year at prep school?

  9. markm, if you deliberately fail, it’s not established that you haven’t learned what you were supposed to learn.

  10. Sounds like a smart way around the problem of initially poor academic performance. Another way is to hibernate in a junior college for a couple of years. Fresno State players do this on a regular basis so they can get in as Sophmores and Juniors.

  11. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “By repeating 12th grade at a prep school, athletes have a chance to raise their grades so they’ll be eligible to play for four years in college.”

    Two hypotheses fit this information:

    1) The prep school is actually a diploma mill for jocks. That is cheating.

    2) The jock did badly in school, so he gets to try it again. Good idea.

    Does anyone know what the prep schools referred to actually do? All the previous posts assumed (1). I have the same reflexive feeling about jocks as any nerd, but some evidence should be required before reflexive feelings become judgment.

  12. Richard, my impression is that the prep school is an expensive top-rated high school that actually teaches what high schools are supposed to try to teach. If all the jocks wanted was a diploma, they already had that more-or-less in reach at public schools that will graduate 12th graders who can barely squeak through tests on 10th grade material – but the jocks would likely soon be academically disqualified from college sports. So they’re hoping the prep school will bring them up to a GOOD 12th grade level, and that will be enough of a head start on the typical college freshmen for the jocks to make C’s without scrimping on athletic practice.

    It also means they’re a year older and somewhat larger and stronger when they start their college athletics. In a semi-pro farm system like Baseball’s minor leagues, this would hardly be worth starting a year later, but since the NCAA farm system allows them only four years…

  13. Gee — and to think that half the starters from my Texas 5A football state-champion high school all took enough classes to graduate a semester early so they could go to college early and be involved in spring workouts. What were they thinking?