Fork Union and Oak Hill Are Cleared by the NCAA

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fork Union Military Academy and Oak Hill Academy were cleared yesterday by the NCAA in its investigation into fraudulent prep schools known as "diploma mills."

On July 5, the institutions were placed on a watch list of 22 schools whose academic practices would be subject to further review before their athletes' transcripts would be accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

"It's been a grueling process," Oak Hill President Michael Groves said. "The Lord has seen us through. This has dominated our thoughts for the past three weeks."

The schools reacted angrily to their initial inclusion on the watch list and appealed to the NCAA, which conducted on-site visits the past two days.

"We've committed ourselves to a thorough and complete review of the high schools and we're continuing on in that process," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of membership services. "This is simply the next phase. "

Lt. Gen. John E. Jackson Jr., president of Fork Union, said his staff answered questions about testing for learning disabilities and about the school's unusual academic calendar, which breaks the school year into five seven-week sessions in which only one subject is studied at a time.

"We're pleased we've been affirmed by the NCAA," Jackson said. "They brought concerns and we dealt with them forthrightly and candidly. I'm happy with the outcome."

Groves said the NCAA representatives asked questions about the academic improvement of transfers to the school.

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