The Education Report: In Oakland, new player eligibility rules and forfeited games

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September 20th, 2012
Written by Katy Murphy

Castlemont High has canceled its second football game on Friday because it lacks enough eligible players.

Skyline High, a school of nearly 2,000 students, forfeited its very first football game of the season — also, because it couldn’t field a team. At the time, its coach wrote a widely circulated letter to Superintendent Tony Smith saying the Oakland Athletic League’s new rules were keeping many of his otherwise-eligible players off the field.

The new rules, passed in the spring by high school principals who sit on the Oakland Athletic League policy committee, caused a big stir and plenty of confusion and alarm in the prep sports world. The policy originally stated that a student needed an overall 2.0 GPA, or C average, to be eligible (rather than a 2.0 in the previous marking period) as well as a certain number of credits. If not, the student would be sidelined for the entire school year.

So in the last few weeks, after plenty of, well, `input’ from coaches and others, the policy has softened. The GPA policy went back to the way it used to be (and the same as nearly every other league).

And perhaps more significantly, some players with poor academic records will have a second chance to participate on a team if they show they’re making up credits and raising their GPAs — if not for the fall season, possibly for a sport they play in the winter or spring. The OAL policy committee on Wednesday created an appeal process for players who are behind on credits or who received a GPA below a 2.0 in their last 6-week marking period.

What’s new this year, after all of the changes, has to do with making sure players aren’t falling behind on their course credits.

To read more.

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