Work Hard, Play Hard: Why the Minimum GPA to Compete Should be Raised

Helena Hu and Aaron Sha

Most students become interested in playing a sport when they enter high school as part of their extracurricular activities. However, the 2.0 minimum GPA to play sports in high school should be raised to a 2.3 to ensure athletes can continue to succeed after high school.

While many athletes dream of playing for a Division 1 college, the chances of this are proven to be miniscule. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, “of the nearly 8 million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States, only 480,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools.”

This is a six percent chance of being able to pursue an athletic career in college, with an even smaller probability of competing professionally after college (on average a 0.196 percent chance), according to the NCAA. As a result, the majority of students will need to pursue some form of non-athletic endeavors in postsecondary studies and careers. If their GPA is not up to par, their chances of admission into colleges are bound to be lower. This means that academic success must be prioritized.

A common concern for parents and coaches of student athletes is that their child or student will no longer be able to participate in a sport they are passionate about, thus damaging their athletic careers forever.

However, according to The Sport Journal, numerous school districts or even states have increased their GPA criteria to participate in a sport, where “Initially, a large group of students became ineligible to compete… But in a matter of two years, the percentage of students who were declared ineligible was the same as before the rule was enacted.”

Student athletes already demonstrate strength and adaptability, and they are completely capable of competing in a sport while reaching academic standards.

The proposed academic standard for athletic participation being a 2.3 GPA guarantees that athletes are succeeding in their studies, while not administering too much stress on students.

According to Athnet, “Just getting the minimum is not always enough to get into the school of your choice. Most colleges and universities have much higher academic standards than what is required by the Eligibility Center.”

After observing the overall status of students in sports, the decision can be made to raise the minimum GPA once again to a more challenging 2.5 once the majority of athletes have adapted to the 2.3 standard. This will be the final measure to secure athletes with alternate educational and career opportunities.

“As a student athlete, I believe it’s important to dedicate yourself to your work on the court pursuing athletic achievements,” sophomore and basketball player Roy Bae said. “But, I believe it’s also essential that we athletes can successfully demonstrate our learning ability and be successful on and off the court.”