Morehouse College has always held a powerful reputation as an institution where young men display educational excellence. The dedication of students and faculty alike has given Morehouse such prestige.
For all of the greatness of Morehouse academics, the same cannot be said about the often overlooked sports teams on campus. With the National Collegiate Athletic Association cracking down on Morehouse with a 3-year probation that began on July 15, the odds seem to still be turned against the College’s athletics.
According to a report issued by the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions on July 15, Morehouse College was punished for actions during the 2010- 2014 academic years that allowed 29 student athletes to compete even though the individuals did not meet the NCAA progress-toward-degree requirements or simply weren’t in good academic standing.
The report stated that these situations occurred because Morehouse “improperly allowed three remedial courses to be used in the calculation of student- athletes’ fulfillment of credit hours …” The report stated that football, basketball, cross country, golf and baseball players were involved, with 21 of the 29 being football players. The student athletes involved were not named.
Once the issue was brought to Morehouse’s attention in 2013, the College conducted its own investigation and took actions to report the issue directly to the NCAA enforcement staff. The NCAA described the penalties for the infractions as “three years of probation, a $5,000 fine and a vacation of wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed.”
Vacating wins means that the wins will be deleted from the team’s records but not added to opponents’ records.
With the punishment in place, Morehouse College is ready to continue moving past the issue and into the right direction.
Following the College and NCAA investigations, a July 15 Morehouse press release said that the following actions throughout campus have taken place. A new compliance officer, academic advisor Ravenell DuPree, has been hired. A compliance task force has been created, which is made up of both faculty and staff, and finally, there will be mandatory technology and training for all athletics staff, faculty and student athletes. The NCAA also required other measures that Morehouse agreed to.
In the press release, the 11th president of Morehouse College, John Silvanus Wilson, spoke briefly about the probation and process.
“Morehouse College’s requirements for good academic standing are higher than the minimum requirements for the NCAA,” he stated. “It is those higher standards to which we hold our student athletes.”
The majority of the students involved in the violations during the four-year period have gone on to graduate from Morehouse or study at other colleges. There also are students that were involved with the violations who still attend Morehouse. Morehouse’s press release said that those students who have athletic eligibility left have been reinstated and now can participate on teams.
Dr. Timothy Sams, the vice president of Student Development at Morehouse, gave his thoughts on the issue.
“We take seriously the grooming of our student athletes,” Sams said in the press release. “Athletic competition and scholarship are key components of character development and that of the student in full. To that end, we are committed to ensuring that our student athletes have accurate data upon which they can rely in assessing their progress toward pursuing a degree at Morehouse, as well as their eligibility to participate in collegiate athletics.”