An internal examination of sports programs in the Maricopa County Community College District has found lax handling of academics for student athletes. And that finding has now sparked an even broader internal investigation of "irregular enrollment" practices throughout MCCCD.
Last week, a district task force recommended MCCCD implement strict guidelines to protect the academic integrity of several physical education classes.
The initial examination began in June in response to a Tribune investigation that detailed how team coaches at several district colleges enrolled their athletes in classes that were nothing more than team practices, or didn't meet at all.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Rufus Glasper announced he is also starting another internal investigation, the fourth since October 2006.
"The conclusions of the task force have prompted me to initiate a comprehensive review of the enrollment guidelines and standards as they pertain to other performance or activity based programs," Glasper wrote in an e-mail Tuesday to all MCCCD employees.
The district will now check whether all music, theater, dance, art, student government and newspaper programs use "irregular enrollment" practices.
Coaching classes are supposed to teach the theory and methodology of athletic coaching.
They are worth three credit hours each, the same as English or math classes, for instance.
At Scottsdale, Mesa, South Mountain and Glendale community colleges, the classes boosted grades for athletes on almost all of their teams.
The National Junior College Athletic Association, which governs sports at most two-year colleges, has been waiting for results of the district's examination before taking any action, which could include putting schools on probation. NJCAA doesn't have any regulation concerning academic integrity.
Wayne Baker, NJCAA's executive director, said in June the association would punish MCCCD colleges if it found evidence of wrongdoing.
Baker was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The women's soccer team at Mesa Community College is already on probation this school year. NJCAA does not disclose why it places programs on probation.
Chris Chesrown, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa district, said NJCAA has not asked for a copy of the new class guidelines.