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Ripon Unified eyes eligibility for athletes
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Ripon High has used a policy for the past two years that complies with the California Interscholastic Federation bylaws to determine the eligibility of student athletes.

In order to participate, they must have an un-weighted 2.0 grade point average with no ‘F’ grade during the previous grading period.

Those with GPA above that but with one failing grade can apply for Academic Probation, which allows for that student athlete to provide weekly progress reports to an advisor or coach.  He or she could still part of the team but prohibited from participating until grades improve to eligibility standards.

 “In my 20 years, this one is the best by far,” said Ripon High boys varsity basketball coach Rod Wright, who indicated that other school districts are looking at this one as a model.

The only problem is the policy isn’t approved by the Ripon Unified board.

Trustees are looking to adopt one that matches the current academic polices in place.

“I’d like to see one for extra-curricular (activities) and one for co-curricular, with the eighth-grade eligibility – do we allow them to play (in high school) or not play, or start with a clean slate,” Trustee Chad Huskey said.

 Staff will bring this item back to the board for discussion at an upcoming RUSD session.

Wright pointed out that eligibility issues of student athletes at RHS are usually at the lower levels. Some stumble by taking courses that they can’t quite handle.

“There are those who take AP classes, mostly Math, on the urging of a parent or friend,” he said. “There are those who do sports to get them through school.”

Yet, studies show that student athletes usually exceed in the classroom, placing one GPA higher, according to Wright, who looked into the CIF eighth grade to high school eligibility requirements.

“I think students coming up from the eighth grade should have good grades in order to become eligible (to play),” Trustee Mike Fisher said.

Wright pointed out that CIF eligibility, in this case, applies to those districts with seventh-through-ninth grade junior highs.

RUSD schools outside of RHS are kindergarten- through- eighth grades.

He and Weston Elementary School Principal Lisa Fereria believe incoming freshmen – eighth graders, in this case – should come in with a clean slate.

They believe students often mature as they make their way through high school, with very few becoming ineligible to play sports as seniors.