High percentages of athletes meet district academic requirements

Athletes meet district academic requirements
Posted on 02/07/2017
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

High percentages of middle, high school

athletes meet district academic requirements

BEAUFORT – Nearly all Beaufort County School District student athletes in fall and winter sports for the current school year met the district’s academic participation requirements, officials said today.

Ninety-eight percent of Beaufort County’s high school student athletes and 97 percent of middle school student athletes maintained their academic eligibility by meeting the district’s minimum 2.0 GPA participation requirement.  Beaufort County is one of only two South Carolina districts that require a 2.0 minimum to participate on athletics teams.

Of 1,513 high school athletes in the district, 1,476 met the academic requirement during the first two academic quarters and 37 did not.  Of 848 middle school athletes, 826 met the requirement and 22 did not. 

The overall district-wide GPA for high school student athletes for the first two academic quarters of the 2016-17 academic year was 3.93.  The overall district-wide GPA for middle school student athletes for the first two academic quarters of the 2016-17 academic year was 3.65. 

“Several years ago were raised the bar for our student athletes,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “We raised our academic expectations because we were confident that our students could meet this challenge, and they have done that and made a very powerful statement in the process.”

Moss said that the district’s minimum GPA requirement is an effective incentive for improved classroom performance.  “Our goal is to make sure that our student athletes keep succeeding after they leave high school, and particularly that they’re academically eligible for college scholarships.”

The highest-achieving high school sports were tennis, golf, volleyball, cross country and cheerleading, all with GPAs above 4.08.  The lowest was wrestling at 3.47.

The highest-achieving middle school sport was volleyball at 3.99, and the lowest was football at 3.42.

Chief Auxiliary Services Officer Gregory McCord said that academic results for 2016-17 fall and winter sports could not be accurately compared to results from earlier years because of statewide grading scale changes made in 2016 by South Carolina’s State Board of Education.  Under the state’s new 10-point grading scale – identical to grading scales in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and other states – a 2.0 GPA is equivalent to a numerical grade of 70, McCord said.

Districtwide, 354 middle school athletes were honored as Academic All-Stars for earning GPA’s higher than 3.5 (essentially a B-plus average) for the first two quarters.  At the high school level, 890 student athletes were honored as Academic All-Stars for the first two quarters.

After a series of community forums in 2011, the Board of Education approved the 2.0 GPA requirement for athletes. Only one other South Carolina district (Richland District 1 in Columbia) has a similar requirement.

McCord said that the district’s middle and high schools have after-school tutorial programs to assist students who are in danger of falling below the 2.0 requirement.  Interim reports, report card grades, teacher/sponsor recommendations and coaching staff requirements are used to identify students required to attend after-school programs.  McCord said that schools pay special attention to communicating the rules to student athletes and their parents. 

He added that the NCAA has raised its GPA requirement for college athletic eligibility to 2.3.

A student who is ineligible at the end of a semester due to a GPA of less than 2.0 remains ineligible during subsequent semesters until she or he meets district requirements. Even if an ineligible student raises the GPA above the 2.0 minimum, she or he must maintain the GPA requirement for the remainder of that semester and wait until the next full semester to participate.