Updated: Thursday, July 06, 2006

Outside the Lines: Super Schools

The NCAA recently released a list of 15 high schools no longer approved by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. These so-called "diploma mills" are a part of a growing epidemic in the American sports landscape. With promises of academic scholarship and future endorsement deals, these schools are filled with young student-athletes with major league aspirations. Able to subvert college entrance requirements with lax academic standards resulting in higher student GPAs, many of these private schools can make the road to the professional circuits that much easier for potential sports superstars. In return for all of this, these institutions receive lucrative endorsement deals and other perks. The NCAA is just now trying to address this problem, but it may have spread further than they know. With another special report for FireMarkMay.com, Outside the Lines uncovers another non-traditional school with an uncanny ability to dodge sanctions.

From its exterior, the Xavier School for the Gifted in upstate New York appears to be your average college preparatory academy. With its colonial stylings and spacious campus, the school looks straight out of the Ivy League. It claims to provide top-notch education for talented youngsters of all ages with a rigorous curriculum. However, Outside the Lines surveyed the grounds with Xavier teacher and former student, Mr. Scott Summers, and found a much more unorthodox school setting. What exactly is going on at Xavier?

"We are constantly preparing the students for life at the next level," says Mr. Summers. "The school feels that the education received here is second to none, and also within the guidelines of the NCAA." The assistant headmaster was quite confident in his school's credentials despite the fact that his chemistry professor was a seven-foot tall, blue sasquatch. "Dr. McCoy has a PhD in Biophysics," responded Summers, "he is more than capable to chair our Science department." The NCAA does not recognize McCoy's degree, nor does it recognize Biophysics, Genomics, Telekinesis, or any of the other supposed courses listed in the school's curriculum.

Xavier's athletes show off their new Nike uniforms.

Providing further evidence that the school is an athletic factory is a strange area known as the "Danger Room." For the duration of our visit, all of the students were seen training in this state-of-the-art athletic facility, not the classroom. Other perks include a brand-new regulation basketball court, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a private jet. That's right, a private jet, a far cry from your average yellow bus.

Outside the Lines asks you, the reader, to judge for yourself, but the evidence against the Xavier School for the Gifted is mounting. At the present time, the NCAA has no knowledge of the school failing certification and is concerned about other issues with the school. Currently, the school is being questioned with regards to its discrimination lawsuit with Apache Chief.

Bob Ley is a journalist for ESPN. He thinks "The Sports Reporters" is boring too.



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