The State Board of Education today gave unanimous approval to a change in rules that will require athletes to pass all their classes to stay eligible. The current standard requires athletes to pass only four classes. The board did make a change in the way student grades a monitored. Board legal counsel Carol Greta says they dropped the requirement that the grades be checked every week. She says the state rule is now that when a final grade is issued, a student who is not passing all courses will be ineligible for 20 days.

Greta says the change was made because of the different schedules used by various schools. Greta says school districts with tougher standards can still keep them. Greta says if a school wants to check grades at midterm and impose it’s own period of ineligibility, they maintain that local control. Greta says the rules were also modified to include the summer sports of baseball and softball.

She says the current rule requires a student to miss a full season of softball and baseball if they don’t pass four classes. Greta says those athletes will now only miss the 20 days of the baseball or softball season if they are ineligible. One other key change would prevent a one-sport athlete from going out for another sport just to use of the 20-day suspension.

Greta says that would for example, prevent a student who was ineligible from going out for track to use up the 20-day ineligibility if the athlete had never ever competed in track before. Greta says the rule would go into effect July 1st unless the legislative rules committee decides later this month that the entire legislature needs to vote on the rule. Greta says that’s something that rarely happens. The changes would first cover fall sports this year.