Black Eye For The Buckeyes How Ohio State kept linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer eligible

June 13, 1999

Minnesota isn't the only Big Ten school to have sullied its
academic image in the past year. Last summer Ohio State was
widely ridiculed for the smooth path to eligibility it paved for
All-America linebacker--and noted classroom slacker--Andy
Katzenmoyer, who needed to pull his overall grade point average
up to 2.0 (C) during two five-week summer terms so he could suit
up for his junior season. Katzenmoyer attained his goal by
loading up on such easy-to-pass courses as AIDS: What Every
College Student Should Know and golf.

SI has obtained copies of two anonymous letters--both signed
"Sincerely, OSU Faculty"--that were sent to Ohio State president
William Kirwin last summer and that offer new details about
Andy's excellent academic adventure. "The special treatment
football player Andy Katzenmoyer has received this summer in
order to be academically eligible is ridiculous," said the first
letter, dated Aug. 14. "Something is definitely wrong when the
only grade given in [a mass communications course Katzenmoyer
had taken in the first summer semester] is an A or A- for all 22
students enrolled, even though there was normal grade
distribution/range for the course in previous quarters."

The letter also questioned how Katzenmoyer, who it claimed had
earned a 1.72 average or lower in five of his seven semesters,
was "suddenly able to perform at the scholar-athlete level
(3.0)" for the first summer term, and how he'd been squeezed
into the golf class, which was full.

The second letter, dated Aug. 24, asked how, eight weeks into
the summer session, Katzenmoyer had been granted a grade change
for an art education class he had failed the previous spring.
"The academic integrity of this University has become a joke,"
the letter concluded.

Kirwin, who had a team of administrators investigate the claims,
acknowledges that the basic facts in the letters were correct.
He doesn't agree with the letter's interpretation, however. "I
certainly don't think we're an academic joke," Kirwin says.
"From everything I learned, nothing was done for Andy
Katzenmoyer that can't be done for any other student of the
university. Some will take those facts and see it one way. I saw
that no rules or regulations were broken."

When asked by SI to explain the spate of A's in Katzenmoyer's
mass communications course, Presentational Speaking, the
instructor, John Love, noted that there were "a fair amount" of
athletes in the course. "This course is very
performance-oriented, and athletes are used to the notion of
executing and performing," Love said. When asked to explain why
she had changed Katzenmoyer's grade from an E (Ohio State's
version of an F) to a C+ in the spring art course, Introduction
to the Computer and the Visual Arts, teaching assistant Paula
DiMarco said, "This is uncomfortable. I really don't want to
talk." As for how Katzenmoyer got into the golf class, the
graduate student who taught it is now in New Zealand and could
not be reached.

"The only advantage Mr. Katzenmoyer may have had is that he has
people looking out for him who know the rules of the
university," says art education department chairman Jim
Hutchens. "Grade changes are discussed in the university
handbook. That others don't know that only means they haven't
read the handbook. I don't think it's as suspicious as it may
look."

Katzenmoyer, who was chosen 28th by the New England Patriots in
this year's NFL draft and has left school, declined to be
interviewed, but former teammate Damon Moore, a strong safety
who was also on the verge of ineligibility last year before
being propped up by summer classes, says the Big Kat didn't
understand why his academic performance became a national joke.
"I remember he was really put off by all the attention," says
Moore, a fourth-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Not everyone comes to college to be in college. I'm that way,
and Kat was pretty open about it, too. He was bothered by some
people who asked about the grade change. Everybody gets grade
changes. I've had some grades changed. Other people have, too.
Now we're both headed to the NFL, which is what we came here to
do."

--D.Y.

COLOR PHOTO: BRIAN LANKER

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