The NCAA on Monday visited Phoenix’s Starshine Academy, which is home base for the Hillcrest basketball team that has garnered great attention since the top 2018 and 2017 prospects showed up this fall.
It is not unusual for the NCAA to show up when a new basketball academy opens to check on academics. Hillcrest is beginning its first national high school season with two of the country’s top players – 6-foot-11 sophomore Marvin Bagley III and 7-1 junior DeAndre Ayton.
The NCAA must check that there is a building with classrooms, and that the players are given the proper courses and instruction.
On Monday, two people from the NCAA did an audit of the school, said Trish McCarty, the CEO of Starshine, who founded the alternative charter school for kindergartners through 12th graders in 2002. She said they observed classrooms.
“They were shocked to see such a beautiful place,” McCarty said. “They liked it and were happy.”
Emily James, director of media relations for the NCAA, said in an email that Starshine Academy does not have a list of NCAA courses.
“As part of its review, members of the NCAA staff visited the school yesterday for a site visit associated with the school’s review,” James said.
James said she wouldn’t characterize the visit as an investigation.
She said the school’s account will be updated on the NCAA Eligibility Center website when the review is complete and a decision has been made.
Nick Weaver, recruiting coordinator and head coach of the post-grad team for Hillcrest, said he was told that it could be in the next two to three weeks.
McCarty said online courses were switched to Apex Learning, which states on its website that the courses are NCAA approved. She said that NCAA doesn’t show the change.
“We had to show a certain amount of time on Apex,” McCarty said. “They need to update the report.”
Whitney Chapa, executive director of the Arizona State Board of Education, said that Starshine Academy has to make quarterly academic-performance reports to show that it is making progress, because the past two fiscals years (in 2013 and 2014) it received a D-alt (alternative school) rating. The next quarterly report is in December, she said.
In 2012, Chapa said Starshine received a B-alt rating. The 2015 fiscal year review isn’t until late next summer or fall, Chapa said.
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