AUSTIN (KXAN) — As students get set for school, many young athletes may be missing out on the opportunity to play at the next level.
According to Honest Game — an academic compliance software — more than 20% of high school student-athletes in Texas are deemed academically ineligible to play college sports each year.
Lizzie Ten Brook is the director of college counseling at Austin Achieve High School, a charter school preparing its students to attend top universities.
“NCAA course completion or portal management was assigned to me and I’d never had any experience with the portal,” she said.
When Ten Brook took on this task five years ago, her kids were falling through the cracks, as all student athletes at Austin Achieve were academically ineligible to play college sports.
“It was a barrier and we’re a school that’s trying to remove barriers,” she said. “Unfortunately, we were faced with one because we couldn’t navigate this process.”
Eventually, she sought help from Honest Game. The software system transforms transcripts for high school students into college compliance reports.
Honest Game co-founder Kim Michelson said school counselors are stretched thin as is, often overwhelmed and focused on the tough task of making sure that their students graduate.
She mentioned that most don’t have a ton of time to spend on registering courses for college accreditation on their own.
“At Austin Achieve, they didn’t have any classes that were academically approved for the NCAA,” Michelson said. “Meaning that none of their kids could accept an opportunity to play in college.”
Academic eligibility experts at Honest Game conducted research, indicating that out of 3,240 public and private high schools in Texas, 737 of those schools did not have the NCAA-approved courses necessary for their student-athletes to be eligible to play at that collegiate level.
“Oftentimes, a student will miss an opportunity not because of their grades, but because of the classes they took,” Michelson said. “That is the high school’s responsibility to make sure that their NCAA portal is updated.”
At Austin Achieve, the Honest Game software updated the school’s portal and ensured that all courses taught on campus were NCAA approved.
“They simply decoded the process for me,” Ten Brook said. “That really helped our students unlock the door of being eligible to play sports in college.”
Over on the football field, this could allow dreams to become reality for senior quarterback Richard Aguilar.
“I’m looking at going to college,” he said. “Any college that will give me an opportunity, I’m willing to take it. To have a good future and a good opportunity.”
Ten Brook mentioned that there are a lot of new charter schools popping up in the Austin area.
However, she warned that there’s not a lot of outreach or information on achieving academic eligibility with the NCAA.
With this in mind, she recommends working with Honest Game to help navigate this process.
To learn more about Honest Game, you can click here.