Correspondence Courses Spell Concern

Correspondence Courses Spell Concern

A number of schools are currently under NCAA investigation for allowing student-athletes to use an inordinate amount of correspondence courses (courses by Internet or mail) in their course loads.

According to a special report in the Salt Lake Tribune, Brigham Young University’s independent study program has been employed by coaches and athletes—including football recruits from the University of Kansas, and more than two dozen football and basketball players from Nicholls State University in Louisiana —to improperly gain or maintain athletic eligibility at other schools. The case that tipped off the investigation focused on Ricky Clemons, a basketball player from the University of Missouri.

Wayne Baker, the executive director of the National Junior College Athletic Association, told the Tribune: “For the last two or three years, we have seen a number of transcripts with one hour or two hours or three hours from BYU correspondence courses.”

BYU’s enormous correspondence program has 28,358 students enrolled in so-called “distance learning” courses in 2005, one of the largest in America.

“There is clearly a rapidly moving coaches’ grapevine,” said David Price, the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement services.

According to the Tribune, it is not clear how widespread the problem is. Price would not reveal to the Tribune how many investigations his office is actively pursuing involving online courses, but admitted there were “a lot more than I thought there would be. The state of technology has made it much more common.”