ABSS BOE Start Conversation About Toughening Grade Requirements for Athletes

11:25 PM, Aug 16, 2013   |    comments
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Burlington, NC - In order to play sports in Alamance County, students might have to maintain "average" grades. 

The Alamance-Burlington School System is looking into increasing school standards for their student-athletes. The conversation began several months ago when community members approached the board with concerns some students focused too much on sports, and not their education.

Currently, ABSS students have to meet criteria set by the North Carolina High School Sports Association to be eligible to play school sports. Those standards require students to pass three out of four of their classes. 

A "D" is a passing grade. 

"Three Ds and an F is technically a passing grade for playing athletics and so students that are struggling that much probably need to be spending their time not practicing sports but working on their academics," explained Tony Rose, Chair, Board of Education, Alamance-Burlington School System. "A student that is making those kinds of grades is probably at risk of dropping out and so we want to make sure that they're focusing on the right things."

The ABSS Board of Education discussed requiring students to maintain a 2.0 GPA at a work session, Monday. 

The BOE asked staff to put together a policy draft for their consideration.

WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower spoke with Chair Rose about the possibility of changing eligibility requirements. 

Rose says the board is discussing requiring students to maintain state standards and a 2.0 GPA. That's a C average.

There are 970 student-athletes in the district and a majority of those are already making a 2.0 or higher. There are about 90 students that make less.

"There are some concerns that have been shared that there are some students that may come to school primarily, or they might not drop out because they are playing athletics and so that we would lose those students to drop outs," explained Rose.

Rose says this isn't an effort to exclude any students, but rather encourage them to meet a higher standard.

Not every member is on board with this idea or think it's necessary.

Some members told News 2 they want to get feedback from coaches and parents before commenting.

The board has discussed including a probation period, and waivers for exceptional children who might have trouble meeting that GPA standard.

At this point, no decision or policy change has been made. Rose says this item could be on the agenda as early as October. 

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools require their student-athletes to have a 2.0 GPA.

Guilford County Schools require a weighted 2.0 GPA.

WFMY News 2

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