SOUTH BEND, Ind. — South Bend school officials have voted to lower the academic requirements needed for students to participate in athletics.
The South Bend Community School Corp.’s board voted Monday night 5-2. Now freshmen can play sports with a 1.5 GPA, sophomores with a 1.67 GPA and juniors with a 1.85 GPA. The old policy required a 2.0 GPA. Seniors will still need a 2.0 GPA to play.
The Community School Corp. runs four high schools.
The South Bend Tribune reports that the vote came after hours of passionate testimony from both sides. The new policy originated from the superintendent’s athletic committee. Among the local residents speaking in opposition was former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps. Phelps had been a supporter of the 2.0 policy when it was phased into the district from 2009 to 2012.
The new policy requires students who are struggling academically to continue playing if they meet Indiana High School Athletic Association guidelines for eligibility, take part in study tables and show improving grades.
One parent at the meeting said the return of study tables was a key factor.
“The big thing that I’m happy about is the study tables,” parent Drew Danik told ABC57. “A lot of people would like to see the 2-0 remain,” said Danik. “The board has spoken, they made their vote, and hopefully down the line some other things will be added to it.”
Contributing: Associated Press