The Catholic University of America

Q and A: Student Life


Background Checks

Q. Are background checks required for nursing students prior to placement in clinical settings?

A. See the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) statement on background checks.  Whether or not a background check is required depends upon state law, and may also depend upon the policy of the particular organization.



Q: Are there any federal guidelines on meningitis vaccines?

A:Yes, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that all college freshmen who will be living in dormitories should receive a meningitis vaccine. This is a step up from the prior recommendation that colleges merely inform students about meningitis and how to obtain the vaccine. 


Q: Do NCAA rules permit different admissions standards for student athletes than those generally applicable to other students?


A: Yes, NCAA rules do permit different admissions standards/decisions for student-athletes than for the general student body as follows. NCAA bylaws allow for "Special Admission" where a student-athlete may be admitted under a special exception to the institution's normal entrance requirements, IF the discretionary authority of the CEO (or designated admissions officer or committee) to authorize these exceptions is set forth in an official document published by the university that describes the institution's admissions requirements. Thus, just as many schools give extra weight to applications from prospective students who are particularly talented in music or the arts, or proficient in a particular academic subject, many schools have "special admits" for student-athletes who might not otherwise meet the school's admissions standards. 

Keep in mind, NCAA academic standards apply when it comes to eligibility to participate on an intercollegiate team (either practice or competition) and those standards must be satisfied, regardless of the admissions standard used by the school. Thus, if all student-athletes or a great majority are admitted outside the normal admissions parameters, that institution would presumably have a significant number of subsequent eligibility issues, as well as difficulty with the new NCAA Division I measurements of academic success (the Academic Progress and Graduation Success Rates).

[Note: This permissive stance regarding different admissions standards is quite different than the general NCAA rule regarding extra benefits for student-athletes, which does not allow a student-athlete to receive a benefit not generally available to other students. And, no, admissions to a school is not considered an extra benefit in that sense, particularly since there are many factors that go into the admissions decisions for all students.]

This answer was provided Feb. 25, 2005 courtesy of Robin Green Harris, Senior Counsel and Co-Chair Collegiate Sports Practice, Ice Miller, Indianapolis, Indiana.

updated 7/10/10 mlo