Basketball star Michael Graham, who signed a letter of intent to attend Georgetown University, does not have the academic credits at Spingarn High School to graduate or qualify for a scholarship from a Division I college, according to sources.
Graham, who is 6 feet 9 and considered one of the best inside players in this area, is nearly three credits short of qualifying for his high school diploma and is slightly below the 2.0 grade-point average required by the NCAA to receive a scholarship, the sources said.
Graham, 19, has asked the D.C. Public Schools to review his transcript for any options that may allow him to graduate from high school and enroll at Georgetown in the fall.
Sources said he is expected to attend summer school. However, although those courses would help him earn a diploma, he would not be able to use those grades to improve his average, according to Jamie McCloskey of the NCAA legislative services department.
Graham is basing his appeal to the D.C. Public Schools on the fact that he attended Spingarn only two years (excluding his ninth grade year) instead of the normal three. He was trying to get all the 20 1/2 credits needed in that period so he could have graduated last week. Because of his age, he is ineligible for interscholastic competition next season.
It was unclear yesterday why Graham was a year behind academically.
According to sources, Graham was attending both day and night school trying to get enough credits to graduate and qualify for a Division I scholarship. There are no such requirements for Division II.
Georgetown is regarded as having among the toughest admission standards of any university in the nation. But the admissions committee handles each application individually and may make exceptions for special students, including athletes.
According to NCAA rules, Graham could take a high school equivalency exam, but would not be eligible for a Division I scholarship or to participate in games or practice until a year after his high school class graduates.
Graham is playing with a local team in the Boston Shootout this weekend and was unavailable for comment. Graham, who signed with Georgetown in April, is still interested in attending the school, the sources said.
School officials at Spingarn and D.C. Public School headquarters could not be reached or would not comment on Graham's situation. Georgetown basketball Coach John Thompson declined comment.
"Trying to get all the classes and graduate in two years is very difficult for any student," said one school official, who asked for anonymity. "You're asking a youngster to take classes day and night, play basketball, in Graham's case, and have a normal teenager's social life. Oh, it can be done but . . . that's a lot of pressure on a kid."
D.C. public school students usually carry six to seven credits per year and, assuming they pass their subjects, graduate in three years. Some students take classes in night school, either to lighten their day load in their senior year or make up classes they failed along the way.
Graham averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Green Wave the last two years. Despite a so-so senior athletic season, Graham was considered the best big man in the area and played superbly against several of the nation's finest inside players in the recent Capital Classic.