Athletes perform on and off the mat

Eligibility seems to be easily forgotten by the fans of high school sports. Amid the hard work that athletes do and the excitement of the games, the players' grades aren't often thought of.

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) rules state that the minimum requirements for eligibility is if a student has two F's by the time eligibility check comes, they are out of any practices and competitions for the rest of that week.

Most high schools stick with this minimum requirement, even though they are allowed to make it even more strict. Principal Thom Schnellenger has maintained this standard because it has been the same rule for close to 30 years. "Much of the requirements have been set by the coaches and players themselves. The community thinks that because of our low eligibility requirement that many of the athletes ride on all D's and one F. That is not the case."

In fact, coach James Neton believes that sports help students keep up their grades because it gives them something to work for. "Out of the 60-70 guys that we have every season, only three to five of them end up ineligible, and that's only for one week. They don't end up being ineligible again after that," he said.

"Most of our athletes keep an average of a 3.0 GPA or above, and that standard has been set by the players and coaches themselves," said Schnellenger. Previous years have shown that many of the athletes here have a full grade point above students who do not play sports or participate in an extracurricular activity, noted Athletic Director, Jeff Simon. Several of our athletes are what Schnellenger likes to call scholar athletes. They win academic awards and even go as far as being accepted by colleges in fields other than their sports. "The community should see these athletes and understand that the stereotype of nearly-failing athletes are not what we have in our school," said Schnellenger.

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