It’s fair to say that many community college student-athletes were left to fend for themselves during and immediately after COVID-19, but the Long Beach City College athletics department is trying to buck that trend by embracing a new technology that helps them navigate academic requirements.

LBCC has announced a unique partnership with the Honest Game Foundation and Gatorade that will set the local community college apart. Honest Game is a computer program that helps student-athletes track and navigate the complex academic eligibility requirements they need to meet. The program is part of Gatorade’s multi-year Fuel Tomorrow commitment, and LBCC is one of the first schools to get involved.

“Basically it’s a software platform that utilizes high school transcript information to determine if you are a qualifier or non-qualifier at the NCAA level,” LBCC Director of Athletics Kal Stewart said. “I feel like it’s a huge competitive advantage for us. Without it, students would need to pay $90 upfront for access to the NCAA portal eligibility center, then they wait until a four-year institution in the NCAA triggers their account profile… I would say 90% of community colleges don’t have that information or quick access to that information.”

According to Honest Game, nearly 1 million student-athletes are deemed academically ineligible each year as a result of avoidable or recoverable errors, such as enrolling in classes that do not meet NCAA requirements. Obviously, those numbers are higher in underserved communities like certain parts of Long Beach.

LBCC Athletic Coordinator Ashley Rippeon, who was contacted by Honest Game while working at the state level, connected the foundation and LBCC when she came to campus this year. LBCC football coach Brett Peabody offered up his program as a test case and has been thrilled with the results so far.

“Working with Honest Game has been a game changer for us here at LBCC,” Peabody said. “They provide a comprehensive and individualized academic eligibility report for each of our players which makes planning for their future seamless. We had no way of knowing how to assist our players and partnering with Honest Game has made the difference like night and day.”

The Gatorade and Honest Game Foundation partnership started this year and said that it, “Focuses on ensuring every athlete has equal opportunity to play sports” in a news release.

“We exist to leverage students’ passion for sports as a motivation for learning,” Kim Michelson, CEO and Co-founder of Honest Game, said in the release. “What’s most exciting is students realize their potential after using Honest Game. We’re on a mission to level the playing field so that every student-athlete has a fair and equitable opportunity to attend college.”

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