Published Online: February 16, 2016
Published in Print: February 17, 2016, as Poor High School Standards at Issue, Not the NCAA's Demands


Poor High School Standards at Issue, Not the NCAA's Demands

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To the Editor:

James Lytle's Commentary "The NCAA's Chokehold on Secondary Schooling" misrepresents the important role that the National Collegiate Athletic Association plays in maintaining quality in American secondary schools. I know, how could the NCAA do such a thing, right? But it's true.

Lytle's "obvious" conclusion that "the NCAA's member colleges and universities do not trust each other" as the animating motive for NCAA course monitoring is false. Rather, for good reason, these institutions don't trust America's high schools to meet high standards. This is because high schools routinely offer subpar courses, especially those delivered online. Such courses mask student-athletes' frequent lack of college readiness, which leaves these young people high and dry when their grade point averages fall below collegiate eligibility.

Rather than pointing the finger at the NCAA for suppressing instructional innovation—a far-fetched claim, but one that a school could easily remedy by working with the NCAA eligibility office—we should bemoan declining high school standards and the clear need for the NCAA's admittedly bizarre, but necessary, quality-control mechanism.

David C. Bloomfield
Professor of Education Leadership, Law, and Policy
Brooklyn College
The CUNY Graduate Center
New York, N.Y.

Vol. 35, Issue 21, Page 22

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