The State Board of Education gave final approval today to some changes in the eligibility rules for athletes. The board approved a change two years ago that requires athletes to pass all their classes to stay eligible. Today’s changes tweak the way the rule is administered based on the input from administrators.
Department Attorney, Carol Greta, says the board modified the time of suspension to make it uniform. Greta says right now an athlete who fails to pass all their classes has to sit out 20 "school" days, but that has been changed to requiring the athlete to sit out 30 calendar days beginning next school year.
Greta says they also tried to clear up any confusion about what it means to be suspended. She says when you sit out, you can’t be in full uniform, sit on the bench, and look like a regular member of the team. The athlete also cannot participate in warmups. Greta says there was a case where a football player who was ineligible still dressed and got into the game by mistake.
The board also removed the requirement that the athlete had serve the suspension in a sport they had previously competed in. There was a public hearing in February on the proposed changes, and it drew few comments. Greta says there have been few comments because the board made the changes based on input after schools saw how the rule worked.
Greta says two years ago there was the big peak in interest in the rule because the standard drastically changed from passing four courses to requiring students to pass all courses, and everyone is now accustomed to that. More information on the eligibility rules is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website .