Lebanon raises minimum GPA for athletes

The school board recently approved to raise the minimum grade point average requirement to participate in sports and extracurricular activities from 1.2 to 1.5 GPA. The policy will take affect in the fall quarter of the 2010-2011 school year.

The district’s former standard of 1.2 GPA was in the middle among other schools’ standards in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, school officials said.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has a minimum requirement of five passing credits for the previous quarter, or 1.0 GPA, and schools are allowed to add on to that requirement.

While Kings Local Schools has a 1.5 GPA policy, other schools like Little Miami and Waynesville have 1.0 GPA standards. Mason, which is on a trimester system, has a policy of passing four full-credit courses the previous quarter to be eligible for sports.

The vast majority of Lebanon student-athletes are exceeding the minimum standard, said Superintendent Mark North.

“We think it’s important to raise expectations for all of our students,” North said. “At the same time, when you raise those expectations it’s important to put support programs in place for students who need additional assistance.”

The proposed change was met with some resistance from district coaches, according to Robert Buskirk, Lebanon High School assistant principal. Buskirk said he’s working with the coaches to develop programs for weekly study tables. The program would target students falling below the 2.0 GPA level, Buskirk said, adding that most coaches check their students’ grades weekly and are already implementing study times.

The increased standard would have had an impact on four out of 342 student/athletes participating in fall sports, Buskirk said.

“We don’t want to exclude anybody, but academics is our first priority here,” he said. “We want students to step up to the challenge.”

Contact this reporter at (513) 820-2122 or rwilson@coxohio.com.

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.