By Ashley Renowden
Last year, Cactus Canyon Junior High’s athletes had to maintain at least a 60 percent in every class in order to stay eligible to play in games. But this year, it’s been lifted to 65 percent in every class in order to play.
Tanya Loftis, CCJH’s athletic director, decided to raise the expectations for grades. She did it for the students who might be on the edge of failing and are more worried about sports. Now, those students will be required to get help before grades reach a failing level.
“I decided to raise the expectations for grades so that student athletes would not on the bubble of failing before they got the help they needed in a class,” said Mrs. Loftis.
In some cases, students think that it could maybe decrease the amount of athletes eligible to participate in games and other team activities.
Eighth grade softball player Jessica Howard knew athletes had to pass to play, but didn’t know the expectation had been raised.
“I know you have to have a 65 in every class, but it’s not fair,” said Howard. “I think you should get to play sports if you want.”
Struggling students will have three chances to make up their grade before getting completely removed from the team.
The first time a student athlete falls below a 65 percent, they get assigned Extended Learning Opportunities, or ELO, during the 25 minutes of lunch time. Students can use this time for tutoring or study hall to make up missing work.
If it occurs a second time, the athlete is assigned ELO once again, and then he or she becomes ineligible to play until the grade is above 65.
On the third occurrence, the athlete is suspended from the team, which means no practices, traveling, or participating in games until the grade is raised.
If fourth time, the athlete will be removed from the team, and might possibly ineligible status for the next athletic season.
While the change is sure to affect some student-athletes, most will not even notice.
“Although I don’t think it’s fair, I do think it will help out the sports teams a lot,” said Howard. “It will give students a good reason to try for sports.”