NCAA bars BYU online credits for high school athletes

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  • LadyWisdom
    June 23, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    My son took some of these character education courses, during the summer just to keep busy, not for any credit or anything, but as a parent wanted to keep him learning and improve character as ell. They were pretty tough, I was surprised, you had to delve into things and it required them to develop critical thinking skills further. It is insulting for the NCAA to do this. The courses are top notch classes and the kids learn important things.

  • Independent
    June 1, 2010 12:55 p.m.

    Why is the NCAA in the business of approving academic curriculum anyway?

  • Independent
    June 1, 2010 12:51 p.m.

    "Character Education" courses that merely required Oher to "read a few brief passages from famous works ... and then answer five questions about it."

    That actually doesn't sound any different from real high school. What do you think kids do in there all day?

  • Dr. James Rawson
    June 1, 2010 12:39 p.m.

    As an educator for the past 44 years, I've had the privilege of designing and authoring more than 400 courses in 4 different colleges and universities. I've had the privilege of enrolling in and successfully completing four BYU online and formally, "home study" courses. My children, likewise have successfully completed several of the courses and none were used to "beef" up their grades. The rigor in each course far exceeded what was taught in the class room. The Bowling course was so difficult, my daughter refused to take the final because she had to memorize the PBA rulebook. BYU Independent Study does not use packets. I understand that BYU Independent Study has earned 27 National awards for their outstanding curriculum. And, are recognized world-wide for their outstanding leadership in online education. The NCAA has their challenges and BYU will address those postulations and suppositions aimed at them in a most vigorous manner and not with a "knee-jerk" reaction. Two states now require students to enroll in at least one or more online courses in order to graduate; 24 other states have similar requirements in legislation. The NCAA and BYU will resolve this concern with integrity!

  • Are you kidding me?!
    May 30, 2010 3:44 p.m.

    What you guys aren't realizing is how easy it is to get high school credits through an online course. So many kids in high school just dropped out, and got there GED onlin in literally 3 months. People at BYU are taking it too over the top trying to take it easy through online courses. And its good to teach kids that techonology isn't everything. They're so obsessed with texting and facebook so much already its not bad to make them stick with the basics and sit in a class room. heaven forbid they have to talk to a teacher instead of I.M. them!

  • DBro1965
    May 28, 2010 11:30 a.m.

    Apparently, my last comment violated some rule so all I'm going to say is that I don't agree with the NCAA ban...

    Regardless of how a student gets his credits for college, he or she should be able to enter college with all their H.S. credits.

  • DBro1965
    May 28, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    This is just the NCAA's way of flexing it's, increasingly deteriorating, muscles for all the college world to see.

    It's the nature of any established organization to fear what it can't control or sees as a threat to their authority. History is replete of several examples of this.

    The NCAA should be focusing on more serious rule violations, such as Fraturnity hazzing and domestic violence incidents, than on how a student gets his or her education. What are they going to do next? NOT RECOGNIZE ALL ONLINE COURSES FOR ATTAINING A DEGREE and say, "Nope, you can't get your degree because you didn't have any face to face interaction with an instructor"????

  • che loco
    May 27, 2010 4:23 p.m.

    I think this is a great development. Contrary to what Reno Mahe says, it DOES NOT help kids graduate high school. Yes, technically, it does. But all of that is hollow compared to what the real outcomes of a high school education should be. Most of these kids screwed up by sluffing school and/or being too lazy to do the work the other students did and turned in on time. Thus, their poor grades. Now they want a shortcut to get their diploma. Just b/c you have a diploma doesn't mean you got it in the most honest way. There are no shortcuts to success and you're only hamnstringing these kids' future b/c now every time they encounter an obstacle they'll look for "the packet" for whatever it is that's preventing their success... which is usually hard work and reliability.

  • wamba
    May 27, 2010 11:49 a.m.

    I understand how bad it looks when administrators hold up a transcript and gnash their teeth about a student completing the work in a few hours, but I have to compare that to my own high school experience.

    There were at least a dozen classes in my high school career where I goofed off for the entire term, never handing in my homework, skipping class, and earning a failing grade, then in the last week before report cards came out I went to the teacher and took home a pile of make up work that I completed that week and got an acceptable grade in the class.

    What online classes truly reveal is that your high school teachers are wasting three months of your time for something that you should be able to complete in a few days.

    The problem isn't the online classes. It's the brick and mortar classes.

  • JRJ
    May 27, 2010 8:40 a.m.

    Speaking as a teacher and as a mother whose children have taken on-line BYU classes, may I just offer the following ideas? 1) Today's students are so busy cheating their way through regular classes by using their technology instruments, that the problem with on-line classes seems moot. Teachers simply can't keep up with 30 kids hourly who are intent on A's rather than education. 2) My children used the BYU on-line (at that time snail mail) to make room for other classes they simply couldn't work into a daily schedule. We were grateful for that.

    As usual, parents who cheat for children are alive and well in the system. Those who expect success and monitor their students are helping them learn valuable lessons. AND who knows what the long-range results will be. I am just glad there are programs available that can assist us in helping our children achieve well-placed goals.

  • ndh
    May 27, 2010 7:12 a.m.

    This is discrimination against home school students. Why is American School included in this policy? If a school is good enough to prepare students to be successful in college, it should be good enough for them to participate in sports.

    Just because there might be a few courses offered that are easy, doesn't mean the whole program should be banned. There are easy subjects offered at public schools also. There are also plenty of harder courses required.

  • Napolien Dynomite
    May 26, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    Excuse me CARMAN

    Where did you find those statistics?

  • Napolien Dynomite
    May 26, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    To Menace:

    Where did you find all of those statistics?

  • carman
    May 26, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    To Menace:

    BYU offers a higher quality education than the other schools in this state. On a program-by-program basis, salaries out of BYU are higher on average, a reflection of the market's view on how prepared students are. As for the PAC-10, there are a couple of great schools, but the Y holds its own against most of the schools in that conference. If you want to argue that Arizona, AZ St., Oregon, Oregon St., Washington, or Washington St are better than the Y, go for it. The statistics just don't show it. Admission standards, admits to top grad programs, average starting salaries, etc. all show the Y is on par with all but 3 or 4 of the schools, and notably better than many of them.

  • MenaceToSociety
    May 26, 2010 2:59 p.m.

    With academic standards like this, I can't imagine why the Pac 10 is not interested in the Why?

  • very concerned
    May 26, 2010 2:28 p.m.

    It sounds like BYU is intent on resolving any possible issues with the NCAA. Good for them.

  • Napolien Dynomite
    May 26, 2010 2:25 p.m.

    What everyone needs to realize is that NCAA isn't out trying to take down BYU athletics. I took courses through BYU and honestly they were much much easier. Alot of kids who either couldn't pass a class or wanted the easy way out just took the class and wrapped it right up.

  • Recondite
    May 26, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    Further to my earlier comment, Mr. Harmon cites Lewis' truly reprehensible reference to Oher's education process as "the great Mormon grade-grab." We would have hoped for better from an ostensibly reputable source like Lewis.

    One also wonders what the response of the Anti-Defamation League would be if Lewis made such a crass reference as "the great Jewish grade-grab" . . . but then of course Lewis would not make such a reference.


  • Recondite
    May 26, 2010 12:05 p.m.

    It is obvious that neither the NCAA or Mr. Lewis has read Disrupting Class, which contains the groundbreaking research by Dr. Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Among the cogent points Professor Christiansen makes, two should be of particular interest to the aforementioned untutored:

    (1) Professor Christensen quotes Dr. Howard Gardner, the Harvard Professor who pioneer in multiple intelligences, on the need to provide education tailored to the individualized learning needs of each student (pp. 25-29). Presumably Mr. Oher benefited from such tailored learning rather than the "monolithic instruction" (pp. 35-38) delivered in the "factory model schools" that provide the bulk of our nation's so called education.

    (2) Professor Christensen postulates (pp. 98-99) that "by 2019, about 50% of high school courses will be delivered online." One wonders what the NCAA will do for fodder for its athletic programs when this transformation takes place!

  • Iggle
    May 26, 2010 11:23 a.m.

    I just wonder how much first- and second-round NFL draft-caliber talent got into D1 schools that aren't BYU with the help of these courses.

    The courses should have a tag line: "BYU Online Study, making other college football teams better!"

  • howarthe
    May 26, 2010 10:59 a.m.

    The fact that the work can be done quickly does not (in my mind) negate the value of the work or indicate that the students were cheating. It might just mean that they are very bright. The fact that these athletes failed their regular English classes might just mean that they never turned in their homework. They might have understood everything the teacher ever said in class. Or maybe she was too distracted by cute boy in the front of the class. Or maybe some tragedy made school quite impossible that term. Trying to fit every student into a STANDARDIZED educational program is one of the problems with the system. Correspondence courses are one of the solutions.

  • Big R
    May 26, 2010 10:02 a.m.

    I was just at a national seminar where this topic was discussed. The NCAA people were very careful to not assign blame to BYU and actually gave BYU credit for trying to address the problem. Then administrators from colleges and universities from around the nation got up and spoke. Some brought actual transcripts with them. One kid replaced his high school sr English class, history class and another class with BYU online classes. He did the work all in one day over Christmas break. Another showed a high school student who replaced a sr math class. He did the work in four hours on one day. BYU has a legitimate program, but abusers know how to cheat it and BYU had its head buried in he sand when problems came up. It really devalues the BYU education in the minds of those outside the state of Utah. I have a master's from BYU, but was extremely embarrassed listening to example after example of what a joke the online classes were.

  • Samwise
    May 26, 2010 9:57 a.m.

    To those questioning how you can know who does the course work: yes, it is possible that others may do the course work for them. However, the exams are totally different. They must take the exams at a nearby testing center or with a certified proctor who is independent of the student. Since for most of the courses the exams are the biggest part of the grade, it would be pretty hard to get a good grade by having someone else do the course work and then do poorly on the exams. Not to mention it would be suspicious. Moreover, the program is accredited by the proper organizations, and the NCAA should stop thinking it needs to be more strict then the organizations set up to decide these things.

    Also, to the Ute who criticized BYU for offering online High School classes (and a diploma, as it is not actually a degree that you get from a High School): do you scoff this much at all innovation? Or do you just hate BYU so you are searching for anything you can to twist to make it sound like BYU is not a good institution?

  • Anon374
    May 26, 2010 9:17 a.m.

    Don't criticize BYU. They're not going to listen anyway. They have never made any mistakes. Any talk that it has, as an institution, violated every possible ethical standard known to mankind is out of place. The impact these so-called courses have on the students and the rest of society is unimportant. The financial impact on the university and its online education personnel is important.

  • SB Fan
    May 26, 2010 8:57 a.m.

    I knew a student who had 4 F's 3 of which were in PE classes. The baseball team so desperately wanted him to play and his mom would come to school every day (Where he WASN'T), In order to gain his eligibility he needed to pass 3 classes. Suddenly he was enrolled into 2 classes that are released to the parents and then a BYU course that he had to take the test that Saturday to get passed... WEIRD, how a kid can miss an entire TERM and then pass a test to become eligible??? Who took the test and how hard was it??? I like this new accountability NCAA is making! Class/Seat time is required of all other students why should athletes NOT be held at a higher level of accountability???

  • John20000
    May 26, 2010 8:44 a.m.

    BYU Independent Study's High School program is accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS) and the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).

    The NAAS accredits distance education, elementary, foreign nation, high, K‑12, middle level, post secondary nondegree granting, residential, special purpose, supplementary education, and travel education schools. The NAAS is one of the nation's six acknowledged accreditation agencies.

    The DETC was founded in 1926 to promote sound educational standards and ethical business practices within the correspondence field. The independent nine-member Accrediting Commission of the DETC was established in 1955; shortly thereafter it gained the approval of the U.S. Department of Education as the "nationally recognized accrediting agency" under terms of Public Law.

    It would seem the NCAA is now challenging these accreditations. Why would they do that?

  • DEW Cougars
    May 26, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    one month ago my son had to take some other courses online to graduate in this year HS. He took bowling online and at public bowling lane. He had to take finals at BYU taking the written test. So, there is no way around that anyone would do this for him. Too bad NCAA had to do this and I don't think that NCAA is being biased on BYU.

  • terrick
    May 26, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    These courses are evil! So evil in fact that if allowed to spread an epidemic of evil will permeate the NCAA. How un-American would this condition of evilness be as a result of rampant evilness due to correspondence courses. Insidiousness of the worst order. Correspondence courses have corrupted the NCAA and it's athletes. How could University Presidents have allowed such evilness to find it's way into this paragon of purity? Wringing of my hands and gnashing of my teeth is all I can do as I contemplate what is obviously a conspiracy of the first, worst order. Shame on the NCAA for even tolerating courses to get this far.

  • DRLL
    May 26, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    The Blind Side's description of Michael Oher's use of BYU online credits is pretty hilarious, and Michael Lewis does a good job of implying the ridiculousness of a system that would allow a student to get credit for an entire semester's worth of work for a three-hour online course. That BYU even offered this service only shows how little their academic standards really mean to them. I mean, how do you feel good about giving some an entire semester's worth of credit for a three hour online class unless, of course, the online course program happens to be a cash cow.

  • Flashback
    May 26, 2010 7:17 a.m.

    Until the NCAA does away with the BCS, they have no credibility at all.

  • Esquire
    May 26, 2010 6:50 a.m.

    What this is is protection of the old order. Distance learning is on the rise and a lot of education will occur through online programs. The world of education is changing with technology, and the NCUA must not have gotten the memo.

  • Conservative Democrat
    May 26, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    I tend to agree with Samwise. In spite of the line from the movie, online courses tend to be harder so that they can qualify for accreditation. I never studied harder or worked harder than when I was getting my Masters degree and my teaching certificates through on-line programs at different schools. I had regular interactive contact with the instructors (and my classmates) 2 - 3 times a week plus faster, more constructive feedback for assignments than I had during classroom course in high school and college.

    Does the NCAA also disqualify all distance learning programs used by high schools so that teachers can be available at multiple schools simultaneously. For instance, my first hour class is Business Math and in addition to the students at my school, I have students (mostly athletes) watching me at schools 12 and 50 miles away. Does that violate NCAA policies as well? What about the 50,000 or so students taking on-line home-study classes in Minnesota because the communities and the state can not afford to maintain community schools in all the rural districts. Do those programs violate NCAA policies?

    The NCAA needs to rethink its policy.

  • My2Cents
    May 26, 2010 5:08 a.m.

    The biggest problem of online courses, you don't know who is doing the work. It's very easy to find other students to pay to complete the courses in their name. Who knows any different?

    What this also means is that students are being released from public education failing to meet the standards of a high school education. A large percentage of college students would never get in to college if it wasn't for the state and federal government funding colleges by head count. The same thing that plagues public education is now plaguing college education. Students are not getting a college education, just toilet paper degrees. Education is focused on money, not learning. If students fail in education, public and college, eduction loose funds so no one can fail or be allowed to get failing grades.

    This happens in all classes even at college level, plagiarizing class work to play sports or other self interests. Athletes have been stigmatized by this and why they are usually portrayed as brawn and no brain. In the last decades many athletes have taken education more serious and done better but the stigma is still there.

  • Utefan
    May 26, 2010 4:14 a.m.

    Ah, the only university in the state of Utah to provide a high school degree!

    As a former high school teacher, BYU classes were the easy way for kids who didn't do the regular work in high school to fill the blanks in some programmed learning books and get credit - often in days!

    No wonder the PAC10 is not interested!

  • Samwise
    May 26, 2010 1:08 a.m.

    Two thoughts on this article:
    1. I actually didn't know Oher used BYU's online High School classes. That makes me like his story even more, which I already find pretty awesome and inspirational. Which leads to my second thought...

    2. What the heck is the NCAA thinking? The BYU classes are just as hard. The college level ones are, anyway, and I imagine the High School ones are not any different. I am a full time student at BYU and took a College level business writing class from BYU a few years ago because I needed to squeeze it in to get into the Accounting program. And it was every bit as challenging as other courses I have taken from BYU. The NCAA has no reason to do this, unless they do have some undue hatred for BYU... and for kids who (like Oher) didn't have the opportunity for one reason or another to finish High School in the traditional way. Shame on the NCAA.

  • WiseOracle1
    May 25, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    The NCAA clearinghouse is an antiquated system that clearly penalizes advanced students by not approving classes that are outside of what is considered their CORE. they make it exceedingly difficult for the high schools to keep up with yearly changes. Each year the high schools have to submit their entire list of all classes offered and the NCAA then chooses to approve or not that particular class....many AP classes are not approved, computer classes are not approved, advanced foreign language level classes can be it is no surprise that online programs offered by ANY college not just BYU would be excluded. Our son was 1/4 credit shy of the core credit qualification to clear the clearinghouse because his 4th year AP English class had not been included by his high school on their annual list. He went on to be an All American and graduated with honors inspite of the NCAA

  • CWEB
    May 25, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    Have 5 NCAA employees take BYU online classes, if TWO of them can pass the class, okay, but let's test the stupidest of all people to judge the courses...the NCAA employees....what a standard!

  • deseretcou
    May 25, 2010 7:40 p.m.

    ?How can motivated Hi school students who do learn well teaching themselves with online courses be included by the NCAA rather than excluded by the few abusers?
    The Hi school football player in the book The Blind
    Side: the Evolution of a Game used 1 or more bYu continuing ed service courses according to news reports.
    Maybe those courses met the email interaction criteria or other correspondence course rules the NCAA says qualify it.

  • JJ Morales
    May 25, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    It is obvious the the NCAA hates BYU. Fortunately for BYU, most people hate the NCAA.