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byu athletes banned from taking online courses

After years of questions over whether athletes across the country were cheating on them, the NCAA said Tuesday it will no longer accept Brigham Young University’s online courses.

The NCAA in its announcement framed the prohibition as part of a larger effort to clamp down on online or mailed-correspondence courses taken by athletes. But for the moment, the NCAA is only banning online courses from BYU and one other institution, the Illinois-based American School.

The NCAA, in the press release on its website, said BYU and American School were “two of the programs most frequently submitted to the NCAA Eligibility Center.”

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the NCAA notified BYU of its decision Friday. Administrators there were surprised, Jenkins said, and want to put BYU’s online courses back in compliance.

“We do have some questions we want to pose to the NCAA,” Jenkins said. “We’ve always had a good relationship with the NCAA and hope to be able to address those questions with them soon.”

The prohibition goes into effect Aug. 1. Courses completed before then will be considered on a case-by-case basis, the NCAA said.

In 2006, The Salt Lake Tribune reported how an unknown number of high school and transferring athletes have taken online courses to become eligible to play Division I college sports. The students typically need credits in subjects like math or English or need to increase their grade point average.

Some of those athletes and their suitors or coaches have been caught cheating, especially with BYU correspondence.