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Attention, Athletes! Get Your Fast Classes Here, Brochure Says

“Attention Coaches & Student Athletes!,” a brochure from Northeast Texas Community College reads. “Need a class to maintain eligibility? Our Intersession classes will help get players back in the game in no time.”

If you’re an academic adviser or coach, chances are you’ve seen brochures like this one, which someone sent me after reading my article on Western Oklahoma State College.

Unlike Western Oklahoma, which estimates that it has attracted thousands of college athletes to its controversial two-week courses, Northeast Texas is a much smaller player. Its 12-day “intersession” classes enroll about 200 students a year.

The community college hopes to double that number by focusing on college athletes, Anna Ingram, dean of distance education, said in an interview on Wednesday. This month Northeast Texas sent letters and brochures to more than 1,000 coaches, academic advisers, and compliance officials at about 80 major-college programs in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The message: You’ve got struggling athletes, we’ve got a solution.

“Do you know student athletes who may not be eligible next semester because of grades or hour requirements?,” Linda Hammond, the intersession coordinator, wrote in the November 1 letter that accompanied the brochure. “If so, we may have a solution to help get them back in the game without lost time …

“Students get full college credit in just 12 class days!”

The letter says the college is “fully accredited” with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and asks advisers and coaches to “please pass this along to any students who might benefit from this program.”

Northeast Texas got the idea to solicit athletes from its athletic director, who is also the college’s baseball coach. He taught a short-format class for a previous employer, Lon Morris College, in Texas, which many athletes took.

After getting approval from the college’s president, Northeast Texas officials made a push into athletic departments. With this month’s mailings, the hope is to attract players to the college’s December courses, helping those athletes stay eligible to compete in January.

“We’re focusing on putting things at the fingertips of the coaches,” Ms. Hammond said. “We want advisers to have this information on their desks when student athletes come in in need.”

The brochure says the three-credit courses “should transfer to most colleges & universities.” And it lists 11 classes, including “English Composition I,” “World Literature I,” and “History of the United States Since 1877.”

Ms. Ingram would like to offer mathematics, but the college’s math professors don’t think that two and a half weeks is enough time to complete a course.

She has no concerns about the fast format. “They’re full courses, they’re not condensed,” she said. In English composition, for example, students must write four essays, the same as in a regular semester.

“Our goal–even in this marketing–was not to say that these are blow-off, easy courses,” she said.

The brochure emphasizes the ease of enrolling, fast credit, and low price: $366 (slightly less than at Western Oklahoma).

It’s too early to tell how many players will enroll, but the college has gotten a positive reaction so far. It plans to keep enrollment open until 6 p.m. on December 13, a few days before classes start, to accommodate any last-minute stragglers.

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