Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guilford County Schools benches more than 100 athletes for grades

GREENSBORO In an effort to boost academic achievement, Guilford County schools are putting more than 100 athletes on the bench.

The News & Record of Greensboro reported Sunday that at least 111 student-athletes in the district are ineligible to play for their high school teams this semester because they couldn't maintain a grade point average of 2.0, roughly a C, in their spring classes.

The new policy came into effect as part of the school system's effort to enhance the academic achievement of its students.

The rule is more stringent than state eligibility requirements, which don't include a minimum GPA. The N.C. High School Athletic Association requires that a student must pass three of four classes in a block schedule or five of six in a traditional schedule.

"Our superintendent came on board (in 2008), and promoting academic excellence was one of his focal points," said Leigh Hebbard, athletic director for county schools. "The standard of only passing three or passing five classes didn't stand for promoting excellence in any shape or form, and the 2.0 requirement is a step in the right direction."

Hebbard says the total of students cut from teams this fall may actually be higher than 111, because totals are estimated by coaches. The figure also doesn't include students who are ineligible because they failed more than one class.

The new policy isn't sitting well with everyone.

Northeast Guilford High School in McLeansville saw 21 athletes become ineligible under the new policy, including 19 football players.

"We lost kids who needed us more than we needed them," Tommy Pursley, football coach at the school, said. "Participating in sports helps with discipline and self-control and to keep them out of trouble. We're not out here just teaching these kids some silly game."

Kenneth Whitmire's son was to be a starter this year on Smith High School's basketball team, but now is ineligible even though he passed all his classes last spring.

"Now he can't play because he needed another two points on a test?" Whitmire asked.

Guilford school officials, though, are committed to the policy, which resembles those in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County systems.

"Our young athletes are capable young men and women. They have the ability," said Guilford County Board of Education member Nancy Routh. "If they start viewing themselves as being capable of achieving whatever the expectation is for the classes they're taking first, and athletes second, that would be my hope."

-- Associated Press


Anonymous said...

Now is time for a study to prove this was not a racist action by the elite faction of acamdemic superiority.

Anonymous said...

Langston: I'd really like to see the demographics of the students involved. Would you post that please? I think it's important to match some things up here.

Anonymous said...

I could care less about demographics because regardless I do not agree with this rule, in Guilford or in Meck. At least Guilford give a freshman a clean start and does not hold 8th grade against them.

Require tutoring instead of weightlifting for the players that are not passing. I want the young person involved in something instead of having idle time. Keep students busy. I am not calling for a free pass but dangle a carrot and make them work for it. The one that did not hit 2.0 last semester does not have that opportunity.