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The Paper Class Dilemma

The “no show” classes

Thinking back to my time spent at the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes –and reading all of the articles about ‘paper classes’ –brings back many memories of the challenges we faced as a staff. It was difficult to suggest a course schedule for an under-prepared student who also spent 40+ hours a week on athletics.

Apparently, this is no longer the job of the academic adviser; and although I agree that ‘schedule engineering’ is questionable from a post-secondary mission perspective, I would continue to argue that admitting students who are unable to do the coursework is also an ethical dilemma.

My personal experience with the independent study/paper class was that if learning was not taking place, then I was not doing my job. Maintaining eligibility, however, is the mission of all NCAA support groups for student athletes; and eventually, I chose to look for work outside of athletics.

During the summer of 2011, I exposed the paper class system of eligibility to Dan Kane at The News & Observer. I remained “off the record”  and silent until I decided to write a blog (Athletics vs. Academics)  during the fall of 2012.  I was so moved by the speakers at President Friday’s memorial service and I decided to tell the truth.

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