Defeated NCAA Proposal Would Have Outlawed Manziel’s Online Semester

Texas A&M will have enough issues with Johnny Manziel and handling his eligibility over the next year or more, but luckily they have a tool to keep some of the mania down: online classes. According to Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News, Manziel will take all of his classes this semester online and venture to parts of campus beyond the football facilities just once a month.

As college athletes become even bigger celebrities than before and online classes become more prevalent, expect this to become the norm for many stars, especially those in a single semester sports like football. But it almost was outlawed by the NCAA a few years ago. Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports makes it clear that he is not accusing Texas A&M of anything untoward and he is not, because this is allowed. But things could have been different.

I’ve covered Proposals 2008–32 and 2008–35 before, and how their defeat by the NCAA members have hindered the NCAA’s ability to get involved in the North Carolina academic fraud case. Instead, Proposal 2010–51-A was adopted with much less onerous requirements for nontraditional courses that athletes wanted to use toward full-time enrollment. But Proposal 2010–51-B would have gone further. Here is its intent:

To specify that enrollment in a nontraditional course (e.g., distance-learning, correspondence, extension, Internet/virtual courses, independent study or any other course or credit that is not earned in a face-to-face classroom environment with regular interaction between the instructor and the student) offered by the certifying institution may be used to satisfy up to 50 percent of the minimum full-time enrollment requirement for competition, provided specified conditions are met.

Had that proposal passed instead of the alternative, Manziel would have been forced to take at least six credits (normally two courses) as normal classroom instruction. All Texas A&M could have done was reduce the amount of time Manziel spent on campus, not eliminate it. Easy to see now why option A and its greater institutional discretion was adopted and onption B was rendered moot.