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NCAA refuses to approve Hershey High School courses - abc27 WHTM

NCAA refuses to approve Hershey High School courses

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HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) -

Hershey High School has a trophy case full of plaques and medals and trophies that are a testament to years of athletic success.

It also flexes its brains.

The newest state rankings give Hershey High School an academic score of 95.5.

Ninety percent of Hershey graduates go on to college.

"A lot of great things come out of our school," said principal Dale Reinmann, who has lots of Trojan pride.

But that pride was bruised when the National Collegiate Athletic Association—yes, that NCAA—ruled that it would not approve two of HHS's newly-created courses (Media Studies and Film Studies) as core English classes for prospective student athletes.

The NCAA requires that student-athletes heading for college courts and fields take core classes while in high school. Further, the NCAA gets final say on which courses pass muster. Media Studies and Film Studies do not, despite the fact that longtime teachers, a curriculum council, and the Derry Township School Board approved them.

"We all saw fit and the value in these courses," Reimann said. "And that they would challenge kids and prepare them for college. For someone [the NCAA] to suggest otherwise, yeah, I guess that's insulting."

In an e-mailed statement to abc27, the NCAA said a panel of former teachers and administrators decides whether to approve courses. It went on: "It's not a matter of the NCAA judging the two classes in question as 'good' or 'bad.' They simply don't meet the NCAA definition of core courses. I think the more important point is that Hershey High School has 12 English classes that are approved core courses."

But Reimann thinks evaluators judged his courses by their title, not by their content, and promised to continue appealing to the NCAA. He said about 40 potential college student-athletes had to be shuffled into other core courses. 

"I understand their process and their need to vet the courses that are approved for competition at Division One and Division Two level, but I'm not certain that a complete look was given to these particular courses."

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq's daughter was a college soccer player. She knows the drill and supports the NCAA's right to reject courses.

"First, we have to remember the NCAA wants students first," Dumaresq said. "They become athletes second. They want to make sure that the child who's going to college is ready for college, and they're getting the kind of rigor in the high schools that makes them ready for college so the parents don't have to waste money on remediation and the college isn't wasting scholarship money for a child who is not ready."

Reimann says that's exactly what motivates him and student achievement at Hershey proves it. That's why he's insulted the NCAA would suggest Hershey's courses aren't good enough.

"I think that's an issue between that principal and the NCAA," Dumaresq said. "They gotta work that one out."

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