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Board approves new rule for athletes

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Clintondale Board of Education has unanimously approved a new higher academic standard for student-athletes.

All Clintondale student-athletes participating in interscholastic athletics at the middle and high school levels, must now be passing five classes, including all four core courses, and carry a minimum 2.0 grade-point average to remain eligible for practices and games.

At Monday’s first general meeting of the 2022-23 school year, the Board voted, 7-0, to accept the new stricter rules.

“Currently, we follow the bare minimum that the Michigan High School Athletic Association requires, passing four classes and just four general classes,” Clintondale athletic director Bob Walmsley said. “We want our student-athletes to pass five. I’d love to see them pass all six, but we have to give them a little bit of wiggle room sometimes. The main thing is that we’re now requiring them to pass all four of their core classes. That’s the main part of this.”

Schools may set their own policies regarding athletics, but their standards may not be more lenient than those set by the MHSAA. Since 2008, MHSAA eligibility for student-athletes has been to maintain a minimum standard of passing 66% of full-credit load.

The new changes come on the heels of more than a year-long discussion and revision by Clintondale’s constituency. What may make some student-athletes and parents groan is the fact that these higher standards are intended to increase student growth in the classroom.

The rules also align with the district’s new strategic goals for academic achievement and community engagement.

“We will have weekly grade checks, which we do already, and communicate with our coaches and our principal,” Walmsley said. “We will also require that students who are having trouble with their classes go to study hall through our Wayne State C2 Pipeline. This just allows us to work with those kids who are struggling. And to be honest, usually when I talk to the kids about their grades, it’s usually about missing assignments. So it’s not like we’re trying to punish them. We are staying on top of them on a regular basis so that they stop missing their assignments and they get the grades that they deserve.”