Jan 28, 2011 11:30 PM by Maddie Garrett

Eligibility Rules Get Tougher for Student Athletes

High school gyms buzzing with basketball games across Acadiana every Friday night. But right in the middle of their season comes big changes for student athletes, as new Louisiana state rules go into effect over students' grades.

"Pretty much when I'm done with sports I go straight home, get a little nap in and do my homework," said Comeaux High School Junior, Kamal Brown.

Brown knows the importance of grades. He's enrolled in several honors courses at Comeaux, and plays football and basketball. And starting this semester, getting on the court just got a little tougher.

"It's going to be their responsibility to make sure that they pass their classes to stay eligible," said Rob Melanson, Head Coach at Comeaux High.

This year eligibility requirements for athletes shot up across the State. Now all students below senior level must pass six of their eight classes. That's up compared to last year when they only had to pass five. Seniors must now pass all of their classes.

"That's made it hard on seniors, I know a couple of schools who have lost their seniors because of failing a class at midterm," said Melanson.

These changes hit right in the middle of spring sports like basketball, baseball track and tennis. But that doesn't scare students like Brown, he just keeps his eye on the goal.

"You're a student athlete, you're a student first then an athlete second. You got to come to school, you just can't go play sports. You got to go to school, do all your classes," said Brown.

And soon all students will have to maintain a C average overall, which is at least a 1.5 GPA, to stay eligible.

"If you raise the standard up higher it's going to make people work harder and get more out of school," said Brown.

The requirement to have an overall C average will go into effect at the end of this term and effect students' eligibility at the beginning of next year.



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