Sports ciTy – Academics go hand in hand with athletics

The importance of grades in athletics is at an all-time low. To be able to compete in a sport an athlete only needs to be passing five out of seven classes. Currently, if an athlete is failing a class, they are only required to attend Friday school, which is not available every Friday. If a student wishes to participate in a sport, they need to be a student athlete, not an athlete who is a student.

Friday school, which takes place from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., is a way for athletes to not pass a few classes and still be allowed to compete. Athletes simply have to stay for the full day on Friday instead of having a regular half day. However when teachers have professional development on Fridays, failing athletes are sent to the library or simply forgotten.

Athletes are considered role models at the school and to children attending games. Failing athletes reflect badly on other athletes in the program. This builds a bad reputation that athletes do not care about their grades. All high school sports are recognized at the school and around the community, therefore athletes should be passing all their classes. Coaches and teams ask for support but why should they support an athlete who cannot pass classes? The athlete is bringing unwanted outside negative attention to the program by not passing classes. Because sports are time consuming, an athlete has to keep up with school to stay on top of things and cannot afford to skip a class. They know this upon beginning the sport and should take the responsibility of staying caught up in their academics.

The school should take in to account attendance and missing assignments for failing athletes. It is one thing if an athlete goes to class and does their homework, does not have missing assignments and is still failing, but shows the effort to pass the class. The athletes who skip class and do not do homework or assignments have no excuse for failing. The teacher should specify whether or not the athlete is trying to pass or not. There is an enormous difference between not being able to pass a class and not trying in general. The majority of teachers will help a student who comes to them and asks for help; they are not purposefully trying to fail their students.

The school needs to have harsher punishments for failing athletes. Coaches should make players do homework at practice until the athlete is caught up in whatever class they are failing to keep their players more accountable. Participating in a sport makes that person a student athlete. Being a student comes first.