NCAA changes rules for non-traditional courses



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Wed. September 1, 2010 | Bob Putnam | Email

The NCAA has changed the eligibility rule for Div. I student-athletes who use non-traditional courses.

The courses, such as software-based credit recovery, virtual, online, independent study and correspondence courses, now must be completed in a manner consistent with core-course curriculum assignments. That includes programs such as NovaNet, which is popular among bay area student-athletes as a credit recovery program that allows them to make up classes they have failed through on-line courses.

This new rule applies to courses completed on or after August 1, 2010, for students entering an NCAA Division I college or university on or after the same date.

Non-traditional courses completed prior to August 1, 2010, will be reviewed under previous NCAA standards. On-line courses which do not meet NCAA guidelines for eligibility will be designated on a students transcript by appending "AOC" to the on-line course title.

The NCAA has cracked down on non-traditional recovery coursework that allows students to reduce the length and content of the original course. In most non-traditional courses, there are no outside reading assignments and students can either pre-test or bypass some curriculum.

But NovaNet is offering students a way to take on-line classes without skipping lessons or testing out of modules, said Lisa Jabara-May, director of secondary product management for NovaNet.

The new rule could affect some players who are borderline as far as meeting eligibility requirements to play for an NCAA Division I school.

"It means there are not going to be a lot of second chances for athletes," Largo football coach Rick Rodriguez said. "We have to continue to be adamant that student-athletes stay on top of things. They can still take the courses to be eligible to play high school sports but it won't be accepted if they want to play in college."

In addition to seat hours and assignment criteria, additional requirements of the NCAA for non-traditional courses include:

* The instructor must be highly qualified and teach the course.
* There must be frequent teacher-student communication.
* Assessments and assignments must be graded by the instructor.
* The design of the curriculum and content of the course.

But some coaches believe the rule will not have much bearing on athletes who want to play in college.

"The athletes who are taking on-line courses (to make up credits) are probably going to have to go the junior college route on most cases and that will not affect them," Dixie Hollins coach Mike Morey said.

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