Last updated: September 06. 2013 4:14PM - 20 Views

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MELISSA MACKEY

Staff Writer

The Delaware City School District this week has officially raised the academic bar for its student athletes, requiring a minimum 1.75 GPA to participate in any school sport.

The move was unanimously approved without discussion, along with other revised board policies Monday evening at the Delaware school board’s regular meeting. At previous board meetings, board members were in favor of the change.

The new standard requires Hayes High School athletes who are sophomores, juniors and seniors to earn at least a 1.75 GPA, an increase from a 1.5 GPA. The new standards will be rolled out for the winter sports season in the 2012-13 school year. The first nine weeks of the 2012-13 school year, which ends Oct. 18, determines a student’s eligibility for the winter sports season using the new minimum GPA requirements.

Hayes students falling below the minimum will be deemed eligible until the next grading period. However, students can become eligible by applying for a one-time waiver, which puts them on academic probation, officials said.

Students in grades seven through nine will stay at the current minimum GPA of 1.5, but those students earning GPAs between 1.5 to 1.75 will also be placed on academic probation.

This allows the students and coaches to keep an eye on academic performance with progress checks throughout the current grading period in an effort to focus on academics and to keep grades high, Hayes athletic director Clint Fetty said.

Freshmen will be required to earn a 1.75 GPA during the last nine weeks of their ninth-grade year to be eligible for fall sports starting their sophomore year.

The increase inches closer to the Delaware school district’s goal of requiring Hayes athletes to maintain a 2.0 GPA and Dempsey’s athletes a 1.75 GPA during the 2015 school year.

However, Buckeye Valley currently has the most stringent requirements in the county.

Student athletes in the Buckeye Valley school district, who compete in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, are required to meet a 2.0 GPA. The district also has a demerit system, giving one point for a D and two points for an F.

Those students who receive four or more academic demerit points are declared ineligible, but can request an appeal of the suspension once a school year. Additionally, Buckeye Valley student athletes must maintain passing grades during the school year, which are checked by the athletic department every two to three weeks.

The other county schools compete in the same conference as Delaware, the Ohio Capital Conference, and have varying GPA requirements.

The Big Walnut School District has a tiered system, where student athletes in ninth and tenth grade are required to maintain a 1.25 GPA, while students in 11th grade are required to earn a 1.5 GPA. Seniors are required to have a 1.75 GPA. Seventh-graders must maintain a 1.25 GPA; eighth-graders must earn a 1.5 GPA.

Big Walnut athletes can receive a waiver once during their seventh- and eighth-grade years. A freshman can receive one waiver during his or her ninth-grade year. An additional waiver can be used one time for students in grades 10 to 12.

The Olentangy School District requires that all student athletes in grades seven through 12 maintain a 1.5 GPA. Students can apply for a one-time waiver during their freshman year.

Seventh- and eighth-grade Olentangy student athletes are watched closely with progress reports conducted midway through the quarter and at the end of each grading period. Students with more than one failing grade or a GPA of less than 1.5 at the midway check are deemed ineligible for one week. The grades are re-evaluated at the end of the week. If grades are improved, they can be declared eligible again. If the grades are below the minimum standards, the student remains ineligible.

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