Imagine you are designing a home page for a site, and this site aims to provide four key services to a certain audience: A categorized, browseable library of documents; a feed of recent news stories; A collection of upcoming calendar events; and a blog (ie, collection of upcoming posts.)
If you have decided that those four things are your key offerings to the user, how critical is it that the home page design have some representation of those four items appear "above the fold" on the home page (i.e. visible before the user starts to scroll downward)?
(In this I am not counting a mere link in the top nav bar as actually "representing" that function on the home page, but rather a block on the home page that in some way features/displays/teases, and links to, that function.)
To put it another way: If you consider a function to be important, is it truly poor practice if the user has to scroll down before they see its content on the home page [not counting a single link in a top nav]? Or, alternatively, is it not too much to expect the user to scroll downwards on a home page to fully see the site's main purposes?