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VIEWPOINT LETTERS

Carr, Fresno Play It Smart

April 27, 2002

Last weekend, Fresno State quarterback David Carr was selected by the expansion Houston Texans as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Overnight, this young man has become an instant role model to many youngsters across the nation. Carr's achievement does the entire California State University system proud, but not only because he's a singular talent on the football field. Carr, a senior majoring in philosophy, is also regarded by his professors as an outstanding student.

Even more important, his entire Fresno State team is part of an innovative teaching initiative that is helping to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to have both a nationally ranked football program and one in which the players routinely cross the graduation goal line. Brought to Fresno State in 1997 by associate football coach John Baxter, the copyrighted Academic Gameplan is a year-round study skills program that has tremendously improved the football team's academic performance. The program has been so successful that it has been profiled in Sports Illustrated and ordered by more than 120 junior highs, high schools and colleges around the country, including Arizona State and Oregon.

The Fresno State football team's prowess off the field wasn't always this good. A few years ago, many would have shrugged off the Bulldogs' poor academic showing as the inevitable byproduct of success on the gridiron. Instead, Fresno State is showing that with a campus leadership that is committed to academic excellence and some creative approaches, seemingly intractable problems can be remedied.

Charles B. Reed, Chancellor, California State University System

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