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Academics vs. athletics

Jason Flam, Opinion Manager

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Every year students work hard to succeed at a high level in both academics and athletics. Colleges require high standards to participate in sports competitions while maintaining a respectable grade point average, so why shouldn’t high schools do the same?

In Chicago Public Schools, the required g.p.a. to be eligible to play in a sport is 1.0. So let me get this straight, I could go out for the football team, be a superstar athlete, and still be eligible to play with four D’s and three F’s in seven of my classes? We are virtually allowing our athletes (notice how I left out the student part) to never lift a finger in class, and not have to pass any of their courses. Why does that not sound right? Look, we don’t want any future athletes to pull a Derrick Rose, right?

Everyone is capable of at least doing the work to achieve a C average. In case you were wondering, that’s just a 2.0 on the non-weighted scale. Not difficult to do by any means, especially when student-athletes are supposedly held to a “higher standard” than everyone else. Playing sports is a privilege not a right of passage, and I think people tend to forget the difference. There is a very fine line between the two.

The question is; why should these athletes be allowed to give little to no effort in the classroom? Don’t try to tell me that they give it all on the field and then have nothing left for academics. I laugh at that assumption because I myself am a student athlete and I know plenty of my fellow classmates and teammates that can not only handle playing a varsity sport, but excel in the in their schoolwork everyday.

Granted, not all athletes are as adept to the curriculum we are taught as others, but in a school like RB it is really hard to fail any of the classes offered here, let alone achieve a mere D. That kind of performance should be in no way rewarded by a spot on the field, court, or any other place you might find an athlete.

The teachers around here are simply wonderful and will do everything in their power to make sure you can get the highest grade possible. I’ve even heard of certain cases where the student did not deserve the grade whatsoever, and the teacher made up extra credit opportunities just to help them pass.

Other schools around the area, including one of our very own conference rivals Elmwood Park, set the standards at where they should be: a 2.0 g.p.a. I feel like that’s really not asking a whole lot, considering that to maintain that grade point average, one must receive a C in a regular class and even a C- in honors and AP courses.

We are basically giving no help to these kids whatsoever simply because they will not be prepared to work in the real world once their athletic careers are over. Everyone must work to put food on the table, and in order to have big turkey for Thanksgiving, wouldn’t it be nice to have that 2.0?

1 Comment

One Response to “Academics vs. athletics”

  1. Evan on November 23rd, 2009 2:35 am

    Jason, I agree with you. Most schools should adopt a 2.0 min GPA, especially suburban schools like RB and those of the Metro-Suburban Conference which are, for the most part, very good academic schools. But I want to address CPS and Derrick Rose, who went to Simeon (a CPS district). I’m kind of a Simeon expert because I interviewed an Illini football player who went to Simeon. The school has never made Adequate Yearly Progress under NCLB. The school has nearly 80% of its students on free/reduced lunch. Students at Simeon do not benefit from a multicultural atmosphere, as it is more than 99% African American. A move towards charter schools in CPS has marginalized schools like Simeon–that is, the ones in most need of funding. So my question is this: Is it fair to hold student athletes in districts like these to the same standards we have for ourselves?

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Academics vs. athletics