This encyclopedic debut primer helpfully signposts the tortuous road to obtaining eligibility for college athletic scholarships.
Jones, a lawyer and professor with experience in collegiate athletics compliance issues, offers fictional vignettes that explain the common mistakes student-athletes make that cause them to lose their NCAA eligibility—and, with it, their chance at athletic scholarships. Some involve pure adolescent boneheadedness, as in the story of Josh, a soccer phenom who signs a national letter of intent promising to attend a university in exchange for a freshman scholarship—which he then loses because he forgets to apply for admission. Other luckless jocks run afoul of subtler snafus, such as Andrew, a pitcher who fails his NCAA academic qualifications because his high school computer-science course didn’t count as a math core course, and Ashley, who’s forced to donate to charity the value of the saddles she won in equestrian competitions to maintain her amateur status. Other prospects run into trouble by accepting cash, or gifts as picayune as a used pair of shorts, from coaches or boosters. In this book, the NCAA is portrayed as one of the most totalitarian bureaucracies on earth, with labyrinthine, petty and all-encompassing rules; even telephone conversations between coaches and prospects are subject to regulation. (Jones also surveys the similarly byzantine eligibility rules of the National Association for Inter-Collegiate Athletics and the National Junior College Athletic Association.) Fortunately, the author provides comprehensive, easy-to-read explanations of every legalistic wrinkle, right down to visa requirements for foreign students and accreditation organizations for home-schoolers. Each situation is covered by lucid vignettes and case studies, which Jones backs up with glossaries, checklists, and lists of deadlines and mailing addresses for paperwork filing. She also includes reams of data on universities, from their student bodies’ academic profiles to their scholarship budgets. Sports-crazy teens and their parents and guidance counselors will find this an informative, reassuring guide to a critical but little-understood aspect of college athletics.
An invaluable map through a minefield of eligibility rules.