The issue of athletics and academics will come before the state Board of Education for review next month.  The state board changed the eligibility rule two years ago to require athletes to pass all their classes to remain eligible to play sports. An athlete who fails a class has to sit out 20 school days before becoming eligible again.

The board agreed when change in the rule passed to review it once districts had a chance to see how the rule works. Board attorney Carol Gretta says there are a couple of changes the board will discuss at its December meeting. One would change the consequences of a failing grade from 20 "school days" to 30 calendar days, which Gretta says would make the rule easier to administer.

Another change would put fewer restrictions on when the suspension is served. Gretta says the board will also look at getting rid of the rule that requires a student to sit out their time in a sport where they have been a "bonafide competitor." She says students would instead be able to go out for the next sport and serve their suspension in that sport, even if they hadn’t participated in the sport in the past.

Gretta says she received a lot of calls when the rule first went into place — but doesn’t get as many now.

Gretta says that’s a testament to activity directors getting the word out and the boys’ and girls’ unions getting out the word and handling questions. Gretta says the review of the rule was promised by the board.

Gretta says the board told everyone they would have to live with the rule for two full school years, like it or not, and they would take another look at it. The board will meet December 13th in Des Moines to review the rule.  

Audio: Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports. :52 MP3