An Exciting New Partnership Between Honest Game and Chicago Public Schools For Student-Athletes’ College Readiness

The new partnership between Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Honest Game will provide the data CPS high school student-athletes need to swing the door wide open for greater postsecondary education and athletic opportunities.

“CPS is proud to have many champions in sports and in the classroom and Honest Game will allow our student-athletes to unlock the life-changing opportunity of continuing their athletic and academic career at the college level.”


New Partnership for Life-Changing Opportunities

The Chicago Public Schools system is full of talented athletes who support each other on the field and in the classroom. These student-athletes see their peers continue playing sports in college, which inspires them to make their own athletic career dreams a reality.

CPS prepares its students for success by nurturing an environment that encourages and teaches self-worth and confidence. Honest Game and CPS share the belief that sport is not just for profit, but also for transforming people and communities.

“CPS provides all students—regardless of race, gender or ethnicity—opportunities to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally in controlled, safe activities outside of the traditional classroom,” the district says in their athletics mission statement.

Working together, Honest Game and CPS will support CPS students and administrators, providing a resource to push the boundaries that students believe are achievable. This partnership will give CPS students the knowledge that they are powerful and capable.

Why It’s So Hard to Follow NCAA

Here’s the tricky part about moving from secondary level education to college: the NCAA is constantly changing the parameters of player eligibility. Many players, coaches, and counselors alike can hardly keep track of every student’s status in relation to the academic NCAA requirements, especially because of the nuances and details these requirements entail.

Additionally, the NCAA can calculate GPAs differently than how Chicago Public Schools—and all schools, for that matter—calculate their students’ GPAs. With different GPA tracking standards, how are students and advisors able to have a firm understanding of eligibility? The answer is this: with Honest Game.

The NCAA has three divisions with a total of 1,098 schools. Even though there are so many schools, close to one million student-athletes annually are considered academically ineligible.

Ineligibility can result from several factors, including:

  • Taking classes that do not meet NCAA requirements
  • Missing core-course requirements
  • Not knowing the weight of test scores, such as SAT or ACT, compared to GPAs

In fact, Honest Game did some research: In Illinois alone, 42.5% of high school students are at risk of being ineligible to accept collegiate athletic scholarships because of their academic standing. And academic ineligibility statistics increase to one in every two student-athletes from underserved communities. For Chicago Public Schools, that equates to $890 million of lost scholarships that students could have received every single year.

Changing The Game: How Honest Game Supports Chicago Public Schools Students

The Chicago Public Schools system has 87 total high schools. It can take hours of manual labor to look through student transcripts and figure out next steps. In some cases, it may seem downright impossible for a student-athlete to qualify. That’s where Honest Game comes in.

Honest Game is a software tool that breaks down each student-athlete’s academic performance and assesses how they can meet NCAA and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) requirements. Honest Game also gives insight on how to achieve scholarships.

The technology is an accessible tool for all CPS student-athletes to uncover how they can achieve their dreams for college athletics and beyond. For instance, from high school to Michigan State University (MSU), and from MSU to the Tennessee Titans.

Thanks to this new partnership with Honest Game, CPS students are now able to:

  • Know their NCAA GPA
  • See a goal-focused outline of the classes they need to take, along with the grades they need to achieve in those classes
  • View options for courses they can take and ones they’ve already taken to be eligible for the NCAA
  • View courses they’ve taken that are not valid for NCAA eligibility
  • Share their Honest Game profile and reports with college coaches

Students, advisors, mentors, and teachers alike use Honest Game as a tool to chart a clear path toward achieving the goal of being a collegiate athlete. Requirements for graduation and becoming an NCAA athlete have many moving parts that can be confusing because they aren’t always neatly laid out.

Without a clear path, it can be difficult to know where to even start. Honest Game evaluates the options for each student individually, making a personal checklist for all CPS student-athletes.

Every Student Matters

The path to college, particularly for student-athletes, is not a “one size fits all” deal. A lone school advisor simply cannot take on individualizing each student-athlete’s track to success. Every student-athlete has their own set of skills and hurdles that come into play, meaning every student’s journey to college will be different.

With varying GPAs, sports, athletic abilities, academic achievements, extracurriculars, high school credit requirements, collegiate credit requirements, and more to take into consideration, the creators of Honest Game knew that this tool needed to be individualized. Honest Game also provides support for the advisors and counselors who work directly with students.

Each student in Chicago Public Schools is more than just a number on the Honest Game roster. Chicago Public Schools’ student-athletes need to know that they are capable of reaching their goals, and that the steps they must take to do so will be different from those their teammates take. Honest Game evaluates where each student currently stands, then provides measurable steps those students need to take to be eligible for NCAA sports.

Student Spotlight: Aaron Warren

From the start, everyone could see that Aaron Warren had the athletic skills it takes to make it big. Schools like UCLA and Michigan State took notice of Aaron’s talent. As a quarterback at Chicago’s Morgan Park High School, it was clear he was blazing a path towards becoming a collegiate athlete.

Although the talent was there, Aaron’s grades suggested that moving onto the next level of play would be unattainable. But little did his friends and family know that this was not the case at all.

Thanks to Honest Game, Aaron discovered he was only 0.3 points away from qualifying to play at the NCAA schools recruiting him.

Upon getting the call from Morgan Park’s head football coach, Chris James (Coach CJ), that he was so close to meeting the standards, Aaron said, “I was in the hallway at the time and I’m like, I’m going to class, right now.”

A new hope was ignited, and Aaron had the newfound motivation and confidence to reach his goal. Aaron said, “When I found out, it felt like, I’ve got a chance now… it’s either you’re gonna take it or you’re not.”

And Coach CJ said that the first practice after Aaron became aware of how achievable college football really was the best practice Aaron ever had.

Peer-to-Peer Inspiration

Honest Game changed Aaron’s mindset about his college trajectory. But something else also came of this hopeful discovery: “He ended up spreading that sense of pride and motivation to the rest of his teammates, while encouraging them to prioritize their academic careers,” said Coach CJ.

Coach CJ added, “It’s huge for him, and it’s huge for kids that are like him, that are from his environment.” Aaron quickly became an inspiration and motivator for the rest of his teammates.

When students see their peers succeed, they realize it’s possible to go for the gold, so to speak. The student-athletes at Chicago Public Schools can reach their goals. And Honest Game can help.

Watch Aaron and Coach CJ’s full interview here.

Honest Game for Chicago Student-Athletes

“Our goal is to improve learning outcomes and level the playing field so that every student has a fair and equitable opportunity to attend college,” said Kim Michelson, who co-founded Honest Game with Joyce Anderson. She added, “It has been incredible to see the almost immediate change in these deserving students after using Honest Game and realizing their potential.”

David Rosengard, Executive Director of the Office of Sports Administration at CPS, agreed: “Our District is excited to partner with Honest Game in an effort to support post-secondary pathways for our student-athletes… We look forward to working with Honest Game to provide essential resources and programming to students who can now turn their college athletic aspirations into reality.”

Do you want to have a data-driven pathway to support your student-athletes in their post-secondary education? Learn more by contacting Honest Game today. We look forward to supporting you!

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