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Program Seeks to Get Professional Athletes to Return to the Classroom for Their Degrees

Associated Press

A pilot program in Boston may help improve the poor graduation rate of college athletes at the same time it encourages professional athletes to earn the degrees they may have been discouraged from pursuing fully while in college, a group of educators said Wednesday.

The pilot program began a year ago at Northeastern University. On Wednesday it was announced that 11 schools are committed to trying the plan developed by Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

Richard E. Lapchick, director of the sports study center, said the program is designed to get professional athletes back in an academic environment to encourage them to work toward a degree, and to get those athletes to work with youngsters in their communities to make them aware of the need for an education.

The schools joining in the program agree to give to any of their athletes over the past 10 years free tuition to come back and get degrees, he said. The goal is to have a member university wherever there’s a professional franchise, Lapchick said.

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Schools joined with Northeastern to implement the plan are St. John’s, New York University, Seton Hall, William Patterson State, Georgetown, the University of Denver, Cal State Long Beach, California and USF.


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