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New public school athletic eligabilty standards step in the right direction

Brooklyn Daily
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The city is making it tougher for student athletes who struggle in the classroom to get in the game, and that’s good news for our public high school players who have the most to gain from a good education.

More formidable academic standards demand players graduate on time; complete their core courses, including English, math, social studies, and science, sooner; and be in class more often — ensuring eligibility for scholarships doled out by colleges.

The city let kids skate by for years, and the students paid a price: this season, potential Division-I players Mike Taylor and Antione Slaughter from Boys & Girls High School, and Thaddus Hall from Jefferson missed out on scholarship opportunities since they didn’t meet National Collegiate Athletic Association standards.

Now it wants to push the borderline students, their coaches, and parents to do more.

“There has to be a really good relationship between parent, athlete, guidance counselor, coach,” Midwood athletic director Artie LaGreca said.

Some coaches, including Erasmus Hall football head man Danny Landberg, will now be taking extra steps to make sure players don’t fall behind. On his team, assistant coaches will be responsible for monitoring players’ academic progress.

“It will cause kids to step up their game a little bit,” Landberg said. “It’s necessary for more coaches to care more about that part of the game rather than just getting them by.”

The move was made to raise overall graduation rates and ensure the city’s athletes meet the new, more challenging NCAA standards to play Division I and Division II sports. The organization that oversees all college athletics now requires a 2.3 grade-point average — a 78 in number scores, and a “C” in letters — and that incoming athletes complete 10 of their 16 required core courses before senior year.

The city is also demanding players have a 90 percent attendance record — or four absences — each marking period if they want to play.

Coaches say the kids will now have to hit the books to hit the field.

“It forces kids to be accountable,” South Shore boys basketball coach Mike Beckles said. “It increases their chances of going Division I or qualifying to go to school, period.”

The new standards will push more kids toward college, but will leave others on the sidelines. Some have low grades because they don’t care, but others struggle because learning doesn’t come easy, or they hold a job to help support their family.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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